I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been less-than-interested in the goings on down at Chicago Cubs Spring Training in Mesa. But really, other than the daily health saga of Ian Stewart and the bunt tourney (which, if you missed it, was almost won by the video guy), there hasn’t bee a whole lot worth paying attention to. I mean, it’s fun to see the kids let out of the playpen for a little while, but, otherwise, call me when they’re on a bus from Iowa.
All that said, I’m going to have to start paying attention sooner or later, and today is as good a day as any.
For example, did you know that Jeff Samardzija is not only giving up homers, but hitting homers, as well?
The results were similar — four runs over 4 2/3 innings against Arizona at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick — but Samardzija was satisfied with his outing in a 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks.
“Outstanding,” Samardzija said. “Obviously the results weren’t what we wanted — a couple home runs, and a couple hanging offspeed pitches will do that to you. But I tell you what. I like pitching against this team. They play ball the right way.”
Samardzija said Monday’s outing was “a big turn” for him. He’s still making adjustments, but has three or four more starts remaining this spring.
So, just to recap, Samardzija characterized an outing in which he gave up 4 runs in 4 2/3 innings “outstanding,” he likes pitching against the D’Backs, despite the fact that they took him deep a few times and walked a few times, and, oh yeah, he’s still attempting to rock the pirate look. Meh.
I know many of you have been extremely concerned about the state of Ian Stewart’s health lo these last few weeks. Fear not! For his return is nigh:
Stewart, who has one at-bat, and that was in an intrasquad game, said Sunday he feels he’s the starting third baseman despite missing so much time.
“He came in knowing it was a job he was going to have to just play well and produce,” Sveum said. “It’s still 16, 17 possible games left starting Thursday. You’re looking at hopefully cramming 30 at-bats into that and some Minor League at-bats, too.”
Oh, and some dude named Castro is on his way back, too:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, sidelined since Feb. 27 with a tight hamstring, is expected back in the lineup Wednesday for the first time since he was hurt, while third baseman Ian Stewart, who has been bothered by a sore left quad since Feb. 21, could play on Thursday.
Castro, Stewart, Brent Lillibridge and Josh Vitters were able to run the bases on Monday at HoHoKam Stadium to test their legs. Lillibridge has been out since Feb. 27 with a strained groin, while Vitters also injured his left quad on Feb. 21.
In other Cubs news, you know who is having a worse day than you? Mark Grace, that’s who. Mostly because he has to sleep in a prison every night. An outdoor prison:
It’s been a tough month sleeping outdoors in Tent City, but Grace is making no excuses for his status as a part-time prisoner of the state of Arizona.
“In this world of blame game, it’s like Democrats and Republicans blame each other, countries blame each other … (but) I did this,” Grace said Monday after throwing batting practice to Diamondback minor leaguers. “The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything wrong. The cop didn’t screw me. The judge didn’t screw me. The prosecutor didn’t screw me. It’s a lesson learned, and especially out here. These laws out here, they don’t mess around. I knew that.
“You can sit here and make all the excuses you want. But at the end of the day, it’s my fault. I did it, and I’m going to pay my debt to the state of Arizona and be done with it. And it will never happen again. I can promise you it will never happen again, because if it happens again I’m going to prison for like two years, and my children deserve better than that. My friends deserve better than that.
“I’m going to be better for it. It sucks. I’m not going to kid you. But you know what? I’m a big boy, and I always try to teach my kids accountability, so I have to be accountable, too, and accept the fact I made a bad decision and I’m paying the price for it.”
I didn’t even get the chance to warn him that he needed to kick somebody’s ass on the first day, but he seems to have figured it out. Let’s hope this is the last time our former first baseman does something so ridiculously stupid. Those baby blues won’t get you out of everything, Mark.
Given that our buntapalooza champion just barely beat out a member of the video staff, Dale Sveum is going to keep the bunting to a minimum. And he’s taking steps to ensure the team isn’t equally embarrassed by the help next year:
Now that David DeJesus has won the Cubs’ bunting tournament for the second straight year, will he bunt more during the season?
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he wouldn’t mind seeing DeJesus drag bunt now and then. DeJesus beat Nate Halm, a member of the team’s video department who played baseball at Miami of Ohio, in the final, which was Sunday. Halm did win $1,800 for finishing second, but no automatic berth next year.
“If he had won [maybe],” Sveum said. “It’s my game, it’s my rules.”
Hey, did you miss Wrigley Talk Friday last week? The good news is that you can still listen to the show, either at Blog Talk Radio or over at iTunes.
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