Tommy La Stella picked up two more hits Thursday in the Cubs 5-1 spring win over the Mets in Las Vegas. La Stella started at third base in the opener of the two-game series while Kris Bryant played right field. La Stella went 2-for-3 with a double.
Spring Training stats are meaningless. With that said, La Stella responding over the last week the way he has after missing a majority of the spring with a calf injury is encouraging.
La Stella is 7-for-14 with two doubles in his last four games. And in 10 games this spring, La Stella is 9-for-23 with three doubles, a walk and a strikeout (.391/.417/.522/.938).
La Stella will begin the season as the only back-up infielder, at least at second and third base, on Maddon’s bench and the skipper’s primary pinch-hitter.
As a pinch-hitter last season, Tommy La Stella was 6-for-14 with two doubles, a walk and a strikeout (.429/.467/.571).
Joe Maddon loves what La Stella brings to the table. If La Stella can stay healthy, he could play an important role all season for the Cubs.
John Lackey stayed behind in Mesa and completed a seven inning “start” against minor leaguers on Thursday. Miguel Montero caught Lackey’s outing.
John Lackey will start the opener of the four-game series with the Diamondbacks on Thursday, April 7.
Ryan Williams put together another scoreless outing in a Major League Spring Training game on Thursday night. Williams allowed two hits with no walks and he struck out a batter on 40 pitches, 29 for strikes, over three innings. Williams faced one over the minimum and recorded six groundball outs.
Williams was hit in the leg with a comebacker in the third inning but stayed in and started a 1-6-3 double play that erased Kevin Plawecki’s infield hit. Williams retired Curtis Granderson on a grounder to second for the last out in the third.
The Cubs announced that Williams was “fine after being struck by Plawecki’s line drive” that hit him on the lower right hamstring.
Ryan Williams is expected to begin the season in Triple-A Iowa’s rotation.
Dexter Fowler was expected to take batting practice prior to Thursday night’s game in Vegas. And if all went well, Fowler would be back in the lineup Friday afternoon.
Fowler has been dealing with mild tightness in his left side.
Maddon said Thursday he would like to get Fowler in one of the Cubs two remaining exhibition games, either Friday or Sunday in Anaheim.
According to Carrie Muskat, Fowler “could play Friday.”
News and Notes
• According to a report from Mark Gonzalez, Joe Maddon reaffirmed Thursday that Jake Arrieta’s thumb “is fine” and it is “like it was never there.”
• According to Bruce Levine, Jon Lester is more comfortable in second season with Cubs.
• The Tribune detailed additional changes that were made to Wrigley Field this off-season.
• Ben Zobrist did not have a face-to-face meeting with the Cubs before he signed. Because of Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein’s reputation, he didn’t think he needed one. Patrick Mooney explained how the Cubs finally landed Zobrist.
• FanGraphs: Making Too Much of Too Little Jason Heyward
• Some of Justin Grimm’s best pitches are before the game ever starts according to the Sun-Times.
• The Sun-Times explained why the Cubs think they can handle Mets pitching this time around.
• Cubs beat the Mets behind stellar situational hitting according to ESPN Chicago.
• Joel Sherman reported on why the Mets are chasing the Cubs … at least for this chapter of the rivalry.
• Comcast SportsNet is expanding their coverage of the Cubs during opening week.
• Ruben Tejada is likely headed to the DL with a left quad strain. According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Cardinals are not looking outside the organization for a shortstop “at the moment, still waiting for more info” on his injury. Jedd Gyorko is going to be the Cardinals every day shortstop for now.
• Waukegan pitcher Jean Casanova has been scouted by the Cubs and Rangers according to the Tribune.
This Day in Cubstory
2005 – Cubs sent Danny Klassen to the Astros
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Ben Grieve
2004 – Cubs sent Santiago Perez to the Rangers
2004 – Twins sent Kevin Tolar to the Cubs
2004 – Cubs released Scott McClain
1994 – Cubs released Alan Newman
1991 – Cubs released Dave Clark
1986 – Cubs released Richie Hebner
1985 – Cubs released Ray Soff
1983 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and cash to the Brewers for Steve Lake. The Cubs sent Rich Buonantony to the Brewers on October 24, 1983 to complete the trade.
1982 – Cubs released Rawly Eastwick and Ken Reitz
1980 – Cubs purchased Lenny Randle from the Mariners
1974 – Cubs released Milt Pappas
1969 – Frank Castillo, born
1961 – Cubs acquired Jim McAnany from the Angels for Lou Johnson
1950 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Gene Baker
1942 – Jake Jaekel, born
1941 – Cubs released Rabbit Warstler
1896 – Reds purchased Ace Stewart from the Colts
1894 – Hal Reilly, born