The Cubs posted their first win of the spring on Friday, a 3-0 shutout over the Angels. Addison Russell supplied the big hit. Russell cranked a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth with Javier Baez on second base that broke a scoreless tie. John Andreoli plated a run with a sac fly in the sixth inning.
The Cubs set a single-game Spring Training record for both the Cactus League and Grapefruit League, there were 15,446 in attendance at Sloan Park on Friday. And there is a good chance the Cubs will break their own record, possibly as soon as Saturday when they host the Reds (2:05pm CST).
According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs’ payroll is currently at an all-time high. The Cubs signed all 21 of the 0-3 men (automatic renewals) on the 40-man roster. With those figures, the Cubs payroll is a franchise record $149,232,000 without including a 25th player on the active roster which could be either LHP Rex Brothers or a fifth outfielder. Brothers avoided arbitration with a $1.42 million contract for the 2016 season. The Sun-Times pointed out if Shane Victorino makes the team his contract calls for a $1 million base salary.
The payroll figure includes the $11 million the Cubs owe RHP Edwin Jackson for this season.
If Travis Wood and his $6.17 million are not traded, it will cost close to $5 million more to field the 2016 Cubs than the $144,359,000 the Ricketts family paid to the 2010 version of the Chicago Cubs.
Javier Baez batted fourth and played first base for Joe Maddon on Friday. Baez played center field on Thursday and had to borrow a first baseman’s mitt from minor leaguer Jonathan Mota. Baez played first base in one game last season after he was recalled in September.
Baez and Ben Zobrist teamed up on an excellent play in the third inning that took a hit away from Yunel Escobar.
Baez said afterwards about playing first base, “I know Rizzo is going to play every day. This is just in case they need me there.”
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Joe Maddon admitted before Friday’s game “he doesn’t know what the Cubs would do right now if Anthony Rizzo went down with an injury.”
The Cubs have Baez penciled in as the primary backup at shortstop, second base, third base, first base and center field.
Munenori Kawasaki is in Cubs’ camp on a non-roster invite after signing a minor league contract in the off-season. And Kawasaki has fit in perfectly with the clubhouse as he attempts to make the team.
Kawasaki put on quite the show Friday before practice and reportedly had several players crying because they were laughing so hard.
Kawasaki performed karaoke to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from the movie “Armageddon.” The Cubs then warmed up to “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Turning Japanese” while wearing headbands with phases written in Japanese. Kawasaki said the sayings on the headbands are “energy words.”
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Video from the Tribune
News and Notes
• Anthony Rizzo looks beyond personal success to ultimate team achievement according to a report from the Tribune.
• Neil Ramirez’s fastball was in the 90-92 mph range on Friday according to ESPN Chicago.
• Stephen Fife had a good outing Friday. Fife pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Pierce Johnson. After the game Fife told the beat writers, “It feels great to wear an MLB uniform and throw strikes.”
• According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the reason for Dexter Fowler’s improved defensive metrics last season was the Cubs moved him back and he stopped playing so shallow.
• The Tribune reported Joe Maddon seeks balance in Cubs’ evaluations.
• String drill supports stinginess among Cubs pitchers according to the Tribune. Chris Bosio explained to Mark Gonzales the origin of the string drill he uses with his pitchers in Spring Training.
• Travis Wood has seen it all with the Cubs according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• Anthony Rizzo has taken Dan Vogelbach under his wing this spring and really helped him defensively according to the Tribune.
• Matt Szczur plans to swing a bat on Saturday to test his left oblique. Szczur plans on being ready to play in the coming week.
• Albert Almora Jr. will be a father in September and found out they are having a boy. Almora Jr. brought blue frosted cupcakes into the clubhouse Friday to celebrate with his teammates according to Carrie Muskat.
• Click here for a video compilation from the Cubs on the spring home opener on Friday afternoon.
• The White Sox are still in pursuit of a left-handed power bat according to Bruce Levine. The Sox may be focused on Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez after missing out on several of their other targets including Dexter Fowler.
And last, but not least … the Cubs have started installing the wrought iron façade on Wrigley Field, click here for a photo.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Phil Coke
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Ryan O’Malley
1993 – Kyle Schwarber, born
1981 – Francisley Bueno, born
1966 – Marvin Miller was elected as the first full-time executive director of the Major League Players’ Association. Miller led the players association from 1966 to 1982.
1950 – Doug Bird, born
1912 – Dick Errickson, born
1912 – Jim Gleeson, born