Last September, the Cubs were in the midst of losing 47-straight games and being swept the Washington Nationals. Recently demoted Lendy Castillo threw inside to Bryce Harper and there was a scrum between the two teams. Where was then-National, now-Cub Edwin Jackson during all this? Was he sent to Chicago to finish what was started that day?
“I wasn’t a negotiator,” Jackson said Tuesday, “but I was kind of right there.”
Video replays show Jackson charging out of the dugout along with his teammates and needing to be restrained by Washington bench coach Randy Knorr.
“I was a peacemaker, but I was right there,” Jackson said. “Somehow I end up in the middle regardless of whether I’m doing anything or not. I can just be standing around, just watching everyone and observing and oh, like, ‘Oh man, I’m in the middle.’”
The television cameras caught Jackson yelling from the sidelines and the Nationals broadcasters said the pitcher was “still hot” after the players had been separated. Jackson said he didn’t recall specifics.
“I was just standing around, watching what was going on,” he said.
“The ball is coming out of Wood’s hand so much better than last spring,” Sveum said. “The way he’s spinning the ball.”Wood agreed he felt great after a winter of working on his command. If he doesn’t make the starting staff he could be in the bullpen. He’s no longer a player that “needs starts.”
“We have enough depth, so right now we’ll take the best seven guys in the bullpen, whoever it is,” Sveum said. “His development as a starter is pretty much over.”
“I feel I’m much farther along than I was at this point last year,” he said. “It was such a battle to get ready for last year’s Spring Training. Sometimes I think when you’re healthy, you’re healthy, and it’s allowed me to prepare for the season at a much greater capacity than I’ve had in the past couple years and it’s exciting.”
Villanueva’s decision to come to the Cubs came down to knowing manager Dale Sveum from their days in Milwaukee, and he hopes it gives him an edge.”I’m a starter,” he said. “I see myself as a starter, and I’m here to start some games. In the end I’m a team guy and whatever they need me to do I’ll do. My priority is to start 30 games for this team.”
Feldman likely has the inside track for a spot. He won 17 games for the Texas Rangers in 2009 but won just 15 games the next three seasons as he bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. The Rangers’ Opening Day starter in 2010, Feldman missed the first half of the 2011 season recovering from right knee surgery.”I never got an opportunity to be a starter (again),” he said. “I got hurt in 2010 and never really got back in the rotation.”
When the Cubs signed him in November, general manager Jed Hoyer said the organization viewed Feldman as a starter.
“I’m looking forward to proving I can start again,” Feldman stated. “I’ll do what they ask.”