It’s a lot easier to jump to conclusions than to draw them after 11 games of the Cactus League season, so we’ll tread lightly and carefully here with that in mind. Thanks to all for the posts on the previous blog. We’ll follow up on a thing or two here. Let’s go:
--Someone asked about the Cubs carrying 11 pitchers when they break camp. I don’t see it happening. Manager Mike Quade said earlier this spring that the Cubs would carry 12, which is the norm these days. I don’t see that changing.
--If there’s a guy who could make the team off the nonroster list, it might be old friend Todd Wellemeyer. In his 2 outings this spring (1 start), Welly has worked 4 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. We’ll see what it looks like when the Cubs stretch him out a little more. Braden Looper gave up 3 hits and 3 runs including a homer today in a 4-0 loss to the Rockies. Looper has made 2 appearances, giving up 4 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings.
--Even though time is moving rapidly, I don’t expect any roster cuts until after next Wednesday’s off-day. The Cubs have three split-squad games coming up between now and then, so it’ll be all hands on deck, including a few minor-leaguers. That’s how DJ LeMahieu got a chance to be the hero the other day _ in a split-squad game.
--Once again, Tyler Colvin is atop the leader board in at-bats (22), just as he was last year when he hit his way onto the team. Colvin and Starlin Castro both have 22 ABs. I didn’t think Brett Jackson would get to pull a Colvin this spring. Jackson has gotten 12 at-bats, with 1 hit. The outfield is a crowded picture anyway.
--Speaking of the outfield, you might give the early edge to make it as a backup to Fernando Perez. The Cubs seem intrigued by his speed. Of course, that speed needs to get on base. Perez is 3-for-8 with a pair of walks. Reed Johnson, a nonroster man, is 3-for-16 with 2 walks. Lou Montanez is 3-for-13 with a walk.
--Big Z is 0-1 with a 1.13 ERA, having given up 7 hits and 1 run in 8 innings. He’s walked three and struck out three. The arm fatigue he suffered last time out did not seem to bother him today. There’s a long way to go, but if the “new” Z pitches like the “old” Z while behaving like the “new” Z, the Cubs will take it. So far, everybody seems happy.
--Our next position-by-position story for the paper (online now) is on the left-field situation. That, of course, means Alfonso Soriano:
The only way to look at it is realistically: Sori is here, he’s not going anywhere and he’s going to play on most days. He’s 8-for-20 with a pair of doubles, a homer, 5 RBI and 6 strikeouts. The contract is what it is, a bad one. In the four years Soriano has been here, he has hit the most homers on the team, with 106. Aramis Ramirez is second, at 93, and ex-Cub D-Lee had 93. The Cubs could use 35 from Soriano this year.