Cubs finalize position players: Kalish and Olt make team
MESA, Ariz. _ It’s Cubs-White Sox today at Cubs Park in the Cactus League finale for both teams. The White Sox will take off for Birmingham after the game, and the Cubs will head over to Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks at Chase Field Friday and Saturday.
There is more Cubs news to report. General manager Jed Hoyer told us the Cubs have finalized their position-player roster. Third baseman Mike Olt and outfielder Ryan Kalish have made the team. Outfielder Chris Coghlan and infielder Ryan Roberts were the final cuts.
Kalish is a nonroster man as is infielder Emilio Bonifacio, whose making the team was a foregone conclusion.
“In the end, we felt Olt really showed us a lot this spring,” Hoyer said. “The way he swung the bat was really impressive, and we like the work he’s done at third. I think he’ll keep getting healthier and keep getting better there. We loved the way Kalish played all spring. He has great energy, can play all three outfield positions and gives us another left-handed bat. We’re really happy with the guys we kept. We’re really happy with their springs, but (cuts) were hard because Roberts and Chris played really well.”
As far as Olt, manager Rick Renteria said he would play third base but that the Cubs would “manage” Olt’s playing time. He had been bothered by a bad shoulder this spring, which limited his time at third base.
We’ll flesh it all out in our “take” for tomorrow’s paper (online this evening), and we’ll get to some other interesting notes.
For now, here is the position-player breakdown:
Catchers: Welington Castillo and John Baker
Infielders: Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Olt, Bonifacio and Luis Valbuena
Outfielders: Kalish, Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano and Nate Schierholtz
Hoyer said the final decisions on pitchers will be made over the weekend at Chase Field. He added that the Cubs will go with five starting pitchers to start the season and not skip the fifth starter as teams sometimes do with off-days in early April. Chris Rusin got roughed up yesterday (with a huge wind blowing out) against the Diamondbacks. If the Cubs send him out, veteran swingman Carlos Villanueva likely would be the fifth starter.
In other news, Castro said he will play nine innings today in a minor-league game and be ready for one or both games at Chase Field. He’s missed almost all of the Cactus League season with a hamstring injury.