The Cubs played two games Saturday and split the day-night split squad games. The Cubs took care of the White Sox at Sloan Park in the afternoon but were unable to complete the sweep under the lights against the Dodgers in Glendale.
While Willson Contreras’ performance stood out in Glendale, Jason Hammel’s start versus the White Sox was impressive beyond just the numbers.
Jason Hammel made his second start in a week on Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park. Hammel started last Monday and pitched two scoreless innings against the Royals. Hammel was effective but not nearly as good as he was Saturday.
Hammel shut a majority of the White Sox every day lineup down for four innings. Hammel gave up two hits and one was a bunt single. Hammel found a rhythm early, repeated his mechanics and just threw strikes.
Hammel struck out four and did not walk a batter. And in the process, Hammel became the first Cubs’ starter to complete four innings in a spring game.
In two starts, Hammel is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP (three hits, one walk and five strikeouts in six innings).
Jason Hammel told the beat writers after Saturday’s start that the work he put in the off-season has translated on the field this spring.
“I’ve always been a hard worker, I had to make some adjustments to find a way to make my delivery a little crisper and more repeatable and right now, it’s translating. I actually was delivering the pitch with my legs, not my arm. I know the fastball command will get even better. Today is was good, but it can get better. The delivery was a lot more effortless. Using the legs, the arm felt better.”
Jason Hammel is expected to begin the season as the fourth starter in Joe Maddon’s rotation behind Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey.
Schwarber left Thursday’s game in the third inning after feeling pain his left knee. Schwarber participated in drills Saturday for the second straight day.
Shane Victorino was scratched from Friday’s lineup with tightness in his right calf. Victorino is not expected back in the lineup until Monday.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Victorino tried “to run without putting his orthotics in his shoes” and he thinks that could be what triggered the tightness in his calf. Victorino did not want to push it and make it worse as he tries to make the team out of Spring Training.
Victorino told Carrie Muskat he should be the designated hitter Monday when the Cubs take on the Padres.
Tommy La Stella, Matt Szczur, Matt Murton
Tommy La Stella, Matt Szczur and Matt Murton are making progress from the injuries that have kept them off the field.
Joe Maddon said Saturday that La Stella’s rehab is going well. La Stella has been sidelined with a strained left calf. Maddon did not have a timeframe on when he would be able to return to the lineup.
Matt Szczur has been dealing with a left oblique injury since Feb. 19 and has not been able to participate in practice much less play in a game. Szczur hit in the cage on Saturday. The Cubs have not said when he will be able to make his spring debut.
Murton is recovering from the appendectomy he had at the end of February. Murton took batting practice Saturday.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The White Sox have enjoyed beating up on the Cubs, especially in recent years. Jose Abreu pointed out to the Tribune how intense the games are with the Cubs, even in Spring Training. The games mean a lot to the White Sox.
• Joe Maddon told Comcast SportsNet the Cubs-White Sox is a legit rivalry.
• Clayton Richard took the long road from surgery to the Cubs bullpen according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Jerry Crasnick reported Matt Murton hopes to complete rare return trip from Japan to majors.
• The Braves released veteran RHP Chris Volstad.
• The Cardinals have not called the Braves about Erick Aybar according to Jon Heyman. The Cardinals are believed to be interested in the Mets’ Reuben Tejada and the Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed as possible replacements for Jhonny Peralta.
• Jered Weaver was diagnosed with mild degenerative changes in cervical spine, Mike DiGiovanna reported. Weaver is scheduled to follow up with a spine specialist on Monday. Weaver has not been shut down. According to DiGiovanna, Weaver will continue with his throwing program but will not start Monday.
• RHP Justin Masterson is in the seventh week of an eight-week throwing program according to Jon Heyman that is preparing him for a showcase in Arizona at the end of March. Heyman reported 10-15 are planning to attend Masterson’s showcase.
• The Pirates are among the teams interested in RHP Tim Lincecum.
And last, but not least, a campaign slogan the CCO supports … ‘Don’t Bunt ’16 … Make America Rake Again!’
This Day in Cubstory
2009 – Cubs signed free agent Esteban German
2009 – Cubs released Jim Henderson
2001 – Cubs released Geremi Gonzalez
1963 – Mariano Duncan, born
1892 – Chippy Gaw, born
1879 – Mal Eason, born