A little less than a week into Spring Training, and we’ve already had a bunch of great moments: Kyle Schwarber’s grand slam off Ryan Vogelsong in his first at-bat. Jon Lester’s two shutdown debut innings. Mike Olt’s nice start.
Then came yesterday’s Homerpalooza, with Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant going back-to-back-to-back in the fourth inning against the Indians:
I can’t decide which is my favorite. Probably Baez’s since it was on a breaking pitch and he was able to keep his hands back long enough.
But Soler’s might be the farthest, and Bryant’s is classic Bryant.
The Cubs dropped the game, however, 10-6. They committed four errors.
Other highlights from the game:
* Travis Wood wasn’t great, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits over three innings.
* Pierce Johnson (probably the Cubs best pitching prospect behind C.J. Edwards) pitched two scoreless innings, with one hit, two walks and a strikeout.
* Catcher Welington Castillo added a solo shot of his own in the sixth.
* 18-year-old Gleyber Torres doubled in his only at-bat. Torres was part of the 2013 IFA class spending spree. The fact that the Cubs are giving him at-bats at this level is pretty cool.
* Kyle Schwarber had an RBI single and scored a run in one at-bat.
Before yesterday’s game, it was announced that fifth-starter hopeful Jacob Turner underwent an MRI that revealed a flexor strain. He likely will start the year on the disabled list, reports Gordon Wittenmyer.
This development makes it even more likely that Travis Wood wins the fifth rotation spot. I’m kind of bummed, as I was hoping Turner would get a shot to win the job.
Wood’s main competition now includes Tsuyoshi Wada (who has been battling leg injuries this spring), Edwin Jackson and possibly Felix Doubront. I can probably live with Wood as a fifth starter, but after last season, I don’t really trust him anymore.
Maddon: Schwarber can stick at catcher
Patrick Mooney has an interesting piece about the Cubs getting to know Kyle Schwarber before they drafted him in the first round last year.
Apparently Schwarber told the Cubs it “really pisses me off when people say I can’t catch.” (“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”)
Good stuff from Schwarber, who is learning from current Cub veteran catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross. Manager Joe Maddon (also a former catcher) believes Schwarber will be able to stick at the position.
This would be huge for the Cubs to have Schwarber’s bat behind the plate. We’ll have to wait and see if they’ll be willing to be patient enough to keep him there.
* Mike Olt’s shoulder is feeling much better this spring after undergoing a throwing program this offseason, writes Carrie Muskat. This is good news. If you’ll remember, Olt battled shoulder problems last spring and was limited to first-base duties.
* More bad pitching-related news around the league, as promising Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman suffered a torn ACL and will miss the season. Stroman dominated the Cubs in his one start against them last season, pitching a three-hit shutout while striking out eight and walking none. I remember him being just absolutely filthy that night.