The Cubs have a rather heavy week in front of them that starts Monday with the first split squad action of the spring. Half of the roster will host the Royals while the rest of the team goes back to Scottsdale to take on the Rockies at Salt River Fields. The Cubs have nine games on the spring schedule over the next week.
Maddon explained to the beat writers, “It’s the most positive negative you’ve ever heard in your life.”
The phrase was used often in the dugout last season. David Ross would tell his teammates during games “Try Not to Suck” as a way to get them to smile and have fun. And Maddon also used the phrase during his meeting with Javier Baez last September as a way to get the slugger to relax at the plate the same way he is in the field.
Joe Maddon has partnered with Korked Baseball to create t-shirts featuring Maddonisms with a percentage of all sales to benefit Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation. The ‘Try Not to Suck’ t-shirts can be purchased for $29.99 by clicking here … Try Not to Suck T-Shirts
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Carrie Muskat
John Lackey and Manny Parra got their work in Sunday morning at Sloan Park. Lackey threw a three-inning simulated game and faced Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber.
Joe Maddon attended and said the intensity “was very good” between the pitchers and hitters, especially for 10:00am on a Sunday morning in an empty park.
Lackey is scheduled to make his first Cactus League start of the spring on Friday against the Reds. Jake Arrieta (Wednesday) and Jon Lester (Thursday) are also scheduled to make starts this week.
Manny Parra completed a two-inning simulated game at Sloan Park on Sunday morning. Joe Maddon told Carrie Muskat that both Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant took the lefty deep.
Based on the multiple reports, Parra and Lackey got their work in on Sunday morning without any issues.
Adam Warren made his Cubs debut on Sunday. Warren was rather shaky in the first inning but settled down and was sharp in his second and final inning of the day. Warren admitted after his outing that he was nervous. And he pitched for the New York Yankees.
Warren said he “was a little jittery and anxious to get out there.” Warren was able to slow things down in the second inning and pitch the way he used to.
According to the Tribune, Matt Murton is looking to return “to game action” this week. Murton told Mark Gonzales on Sunday that he was “getting close.”
Murton underwent an appendectomy on Feb. 27 and is “already playing catch and hitting off a tee.”
The Cubs medical staff hasn’t cleared Murton yet. He said he wants to make sure he doesn’t rush back and have a setback.
Austin Jackson and Mike Olt
Jackson will mainly play center field for Robin Ventura. Jackson turned down bigger offers from other teams because he wanted to play center and stay in Chicago.
Adam Eaton is expected to slide to a corner spot once he is shoulder is healthy enough to play in the field.
Olt played in 24 games for the Sox last season after he was claimed off waivers from the Cubs. Olt hit .203/.267/.316 with three home runs and a .584 OPS. Olt struck out 29 times in 79 at bats.
This is the second time Mike Olt has been designated for assignment to make room on a roster for Austin Jackson. The Cubs DFA’d Olt last August when the front office acquired Jackson from the Mariners.
News and Notes
• Kris Bryant has been working on his defense at third base, especially his arm angles, with Kevin Youkilis.
• Neil Ramirez is battling numbers game for a roster spot according to the Tribune. Ramirez is out of options and is building his shoulder strength this spring. Ramirez is scheduled to pitch for the second time in the Cactus League against the Rockies on Monday in Scottsdale.
• Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to make his first start and second appearance of the spring on Tuesday when the Cubs host the Dodgers at Sloan Park. Dave Roberts is sending Clayton Kershaw to the hill in the exhibition game.
• The Cubs called up RHP Frank Batista for the day Sunday from minor league camp. Batista got into the game but had to leave early after tweaking his left quad moving into position to field a groundball. Batista limped off the field. No word yet on the severity of his injury.
• Albert Almora Jr. is playing with confidence for Cubs according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Dan Vogelbach is working on making a name for himself with the Cubs according to the Sun-Times.
• Jesus Guzman reported to camp on Sunday. Guzman signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in the off-season that included a non-roster invite to camp. Visa issues delayed his arrival according to Carrie Muskat.
• Rick Sutcliffe liked what he saw from Gleyber Torres defensively.
• The Tribune reported that former Red Sox believe their experience can aid Cubs’ World Series mission.
• According to Marc Topkin, service time is top factor when Rays set salaries for 0-3 players. Jake Odorizzi actually took a pay cut from last season which could and should have an impact on his value at the trade deadline.
• Albert Pujols is on track to be ready for Opening Day. Was there ever any doubt that Pujols would be ready to play against the Cubs?
• Tony Clark clarified his comments about limiting the media’s access to the players and teams. Clark said “there is nothing on my to-do list that suggests cutting access to the clubhouse.”
And last, but not least, Chase Utley will not be suspended for the first two games of the season. Utley appealed the league’s decision to suspend him for sliding into Reuben Tejada in the post-season last October. MLB dropped the suspension.
This Day in Cubstory
2006 – Derrek Lee homered in Team USA’s first game in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Team USA topped Team Mexico 2-0 behind homers by Lee and Chipper Jones and a four-hit shutout by Jake Peavy and the pitching staff.
1995 – Richie Ashburn was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
1979 – Hack Wilson was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Wilson set the NL record for home runs in a single season (56) in 1930 that stood until 1998. Wilson collected an All-Time Record 191 RBI in 1930.
1960 – Joe Carter, born
1953 – Randy Stein, born
1951 – Cubs traded Clarence Maddern to the Indians for Max West
1938 – Jimmie Hall, born
1933 – Ed Bouchee, born