Merry 'Christmas Eve' from Quade
Two baseball players from Canada, catcher
Chris Robinson from Ontario and pitcher Ryan
Dempster from British Columbia, go over a few
things on Friday at Cubs camp in Mesa, Ariz.
MESA, Ariz. _ Cubs manager Mike Quade called it “Christmas Eve,” the day position players report and the day before they work out formally. Not everybody is here yet at Fitch Park. On reporting day, all a player has to do is set foot in the state. Alfonso Soriano came in after today’s pitchers-and-catchers workout (and informal hitting by position players) was over.
Luis Montanez arrived near the end of workouts. Yet to arrive are Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro. Q said he didn’t mind that Castro wasn’t here earlier because he played winter ball.
Kosuke Fukudome arrived. This is the fourth year of Fukudome’s four-year, $48 million contract. Q stayed away from the word “disappointing” to describe Fukudome’s career with the Cubs. Instead, he tried to focus on Fukudome’s finish to last season. Fukudome hit .210 in September-October and .365 in March. His .371 OBP for the season was a tick above his career OBP of .368.
“All I know is that on the eve of our first full-squad workout, all I’m looking for is for everybody here to get better and be healthy,” Q said. “No matter how good they were, can they get better, and can we get better as a club? Disappointment or not, I don’t know. Again, I was thrilled with the way he finished. His first year, with the start he had, I think everybody had delusions of grandeur. It’s not that easy. It ain’t that easy over here. I just want see him build on what he did for us last year, and I’m going to say that a lot because there’s a lot of guys in that boat.”
It looks again like Fukudome will share time in right field with Tyler Colvin, and Q said he’d let things play out.
--The Cubs will honor the memory of Ron Santo here in Mesa before a March 10 game at HoHoKam Park. On “Ron Santo Day,” the Cubs will hold a ceremony at third base before the game against Cleveland. That will give the folks down here a chance to join in the tributes that will continue into the regular season in Chicago.
--Speaking of Mesa, Todd Ricketts said the Cubs' new spring home likely would be ready by 2014, not 2013. They're in the final stages of picking an architect, Todd said. It could be that the new home could host the Arizona Fall League in 2013 and be ready for spring training 2014. Todd talked about the new park having field dimensions the same as Wrigley Field. I don't think that would work. The Wrigley power alleys are 368 feet from home plate, and with the way the ball flies here in Arizona, every routine fly would be a home run. Most power alleys in Arizona spring parks are about 390 feet from home plate. When Larry Himes was with the Cubs, he talked about the current HoHoKam having the same dimensions as Wrigley. That didn't fly, either.
--Angel Guzman, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery, threw off the mound during practice this morning. He’d like to be able to throw a sim game or live batting practice by March 15.
--Sight seen: Veteran catcher Koyie Hill working with Triple-A catcher Chris Robinson on setups against lefty and righty batters. Maybe we’ll post a shot of that for the blog or our photo gallery at dailyherald.com. Koyie spent several minutes with Chris and commented after each pitch. Chris is from London, Ontario. He got to catch Ryan Dempster, who hails from British Columbia. Robinson is one of the nicer kids in camp, so I’m sure that was a thrill for him to catch a fellow Canadian.