Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paul Maholm makes final Cactus League start; Cubs tie 3-3 with Angels

Paul Maholm started for the Cubs, who ended up in a 3-3 tie after 10 innings against the Los Angeles Angels today at HoHoKam Park. 

Paul Maholm made his last Cactus League start today before the regular season starts next week (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Maholm will stay in camp and pitch against minor leaguers next week. Meanwhile, the team will head to Chicago on Tuesday, and Maholm will join them for Opening Day on Thursday against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.  Maholm's first start will be on April 10th against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Only 5 more days until Opening Day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cubs reveal Opening Day lineup; Cubs-Dodgers recap

The Cubs lost their Cactus League game to the Los Angeles Dodgers today, 6-3.  Their spring record stands at 14-16-1.  Ryan Dempster, who will also be the Cubs' Opening Day starter, pitched 4 and 2/3 innings and allowed one run, four hits, and three walks today.  "I'm looking forward to getting up to Chicago and getting this under way," Dempster said.

Ryan Dempster was the starting pitcher in today's game and will also be the Cubs' Opening Day starter (photo from
Cubs Manager Dale Sveum also revealed and used his Opening Day lineup for today's game, which is:

RF David DeJesus
2B Darwin Barney
SS Starlin Castro
1B Bryan LaHair
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Ian Stewart
CF Marlon Byrd
C Geovany Soto
P Ryan Dempster

Tomorrow the Cubs will take on the Angels at 3pm CST in Mesa, where Paul Maholm will be the Cubs' starting pitcher.  Only 6 more days until Opening Day!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cubs make surprising roster moves and lose 12-11 to the Padres

It was a busy day today as the Cubs reduced their spring roster from 40 to 31 players by optioning Randy Wells, Scott Maine, Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Welington Castillo to Triple-A Iowa, and assigning Blake Lalli, Blake Parker, Matt Tolbert, and Edgar Gonzalez to Minor League camp.  Joe Mather and Blake DeWitt were given the good news that they both made the 25-man roster.

Dale Sveum announced the Cubs' starting rotation as: Ryan Dempster (#1 spot), Matt Garza (#2 spot),  Jeff Samardzija (#3), Chris Volstad (#4), and Paul Maholm (#5).  Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and James Russell are set for the Cubs' bullpen.  The rest of the bullpen is still to be finalized.

Most people were shocked to learn that Cubs' veteran starting pitcher Wells was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.  Wells did not get a spot on the roster even though he did not give up a run in 7 1/3 innings over three Cactus League appearances.  Some say that Wells didn't get enough of a chance to compete for a starting rotation spot.  Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer said, "Randy had a real good spring and we made that clear to him.  It wasn't for his lack of effort."

Cubs veteran starting pitcher Randy Wells is beginning the season at Triple-A Iowa in an effort to have starting pitching depth (Tribune photo)
All spring, the word has been if Wells didn't get a starting rotation spot, he would be used in the bullpen.  However, it sounds like Cubs President Theo Epstein, Hoyer, and Sveum now have a different plan for Wells.  They want him to stay stretched out by being the #1 starter in Iowa so that if one of the 5 starters in Chicago is injured or needs to be replaced (similar to what happened to Wells in 2011 after he was on the DL after his first start), Wells will be ready and called up to start.  Sveum said Wells did well this spring, but Samardzija and Volstad "threw the heck out of the ball as well."

"Usually when this happens, you've had a rough spring or haven't been pitching well," Wells said.  "I feel I've thrown the ball well in a variety of different roles.  It was obviously a shock.  Things didn't work out.  I've got to go down and get stretched back out and try to get built up and make some starts and hopefully be ready when they need me.  It makes you stronger, I guess.  You go through these things (and) as big as that feeling in your stomach is – the anger or disappointment or whatever it is – you got to get past this.  You got to remember it’s your job.  They’re our bosses and they make the decisions and you just got to keep working.”

Catcher Jason Jaramillo was released by the Cubs today and has already signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.

In the Cubs' Cactus League game today against the Padres, Volstad blew a four-run lead and gave up six runs in 42/3 innings.  Kerry Wood made his first appearance since March 18th and threw five pitches and struck out the only batter he faced.  The Cubs lost the practice game 12-11.

The Cubs will play the Los Angeles Dodgers at 3pm CST at HoHoKam Park tomorrow, where Ryan Dempster will be the starting pitcher. 

Back in Chicago, Wrigley Field is getting dressed up for Opening Day, which is in one week!

Banners are up at Wrigley Field to prepare for Opening Day on April 5, 2012 (photo from Wayne Buckner)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cubs beat the Indians, 2-0; 25-man roster almost set

The Cubs beat the Indians, 2-0 today.  Jeff Samardzija pitched six scoreless innings and even hit a triple.  Carlos Marmol pitched in relief and had his second scoreless outing since he had hand cramps.  "I feel pretty good, man," Samardzija said.  "Looking at my camp as a whole, there's not much I can say other than that last (poor) outing. Obviously, we'll see what happens."

Jeff Samardzija pitched six scoreless innings today (photo from Chicago Tribune)
The Cubs are close to finalizing their 25-man roster (which is currently at 40 players).  "We're just going to make our decisions tonight and see where we go with it," Manager Dale Sveum said.  "We've got to make a decision on the long man as well and that's as much of a priority.  We have 22 or 21 guys who are pretty much decided and we'll spend hopefully not more than four hours on the other four guys.  "Some people are attached to somebody and that means a lot, but sometimes you have to put your feelings aside when it comes to these decisions and what's best for the 25 guys in the organization."

The Cubs will play the Padres at 3:05pm CST tomorrow in Peoria, AZ.  Chris Volstad will start for the Cubs.  Only 8 more days until Opening Day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cubs win 7-4 over the Reds; Byrd rumors; Roster cuts coming Thursday

The Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-4 in Goodyear today.  Matt Garza pitched four innings and gave up two runs and seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts.  Second baseman Darwin Barney was 3-for-4 today and is hitting .389 for the spring.

Second baseman Darwin Barney had three hits vs. the Reds on Tuesday (AP photo)
The rumor mill has been going crazy lately about the Cubs looking at trading centerfielder Marlon Byrd in order to be able to call up top prospect Brett Jackson and also in hopes of getting a relief pitcher in the trade.  I personally am a big fan of Byrd's and feel that his positive attitude is a great asset to the team.  I can attest to this because I've met him a couple of times and he is one of the nicest guys around and his positive energy definitely rubs off on you.  But we'll see what happens.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum expects to have 95 percent of his roster set after a meeting with his coaching staff following tomorrow's game.  There will be numerous cuts to the roster on Thursday, which is currently at 40 players.

Tomorrow the Cubs will play the Cleveland Indians at HoHoKam Park at 3:05pm.  Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start the game.  Randy Wells is expected to pitch at least one inning in relief.  Wells will get another start on April 1st.  You can listen to tomorrow's game on  Only 9 more days until Opening Day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Paul Maholm continues to impress in Cubs' 2-0 split-squad win over Padres

Paul Maholm, who has been named the Cubs' fifth starter, was impressive in today's split-squad game against the Padres, where he threw six strikeouts over five scoreless innings and led the Cubs to a 2-0 win.  Maholm also allowed four hits and walked two batters.  “I was working on a few different things that we are trying to implement and gave up a few hits but they were good pitches,” Maholm said.  “The main thing was getting out there, getting through five, to the 70-pitch mark and for the most part I worked ahead.”  Maholm has given up just one earned run in four starts this spring and has a current ERA of 0.90.  

Bryan LaHair had an RBI double in the game.  Cubs Closer Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since last Tuesday, when he had to leave the game due to hand cramps.  "My body feels great and mentally I feel great," Marmol said. "It's a good sign."
Paul Maholm threw six strikeouts in the Cubs' win over the Padres on Monday (photo from
The Cubs lost 3-2 in their other split-squad game to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.  Ian Stewart had an RBI double.  Blake DeWitt was 2 for 4, which should help his chances of making the roster.

The Cubs signed veteran right-handed reliever Shawn Camp to a Minor League deal today and also released veteran left-handed pitcher Trever Miller.  The Cubs' spring roster is currently at 40 players.

Matt Garza will start for the Cubs tomorrow when the team will head to Goodyear to face the Cincinnati Reds.  The game will be broadcast on at 3:05pm CST.  Only 10 more days until Opening Day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cubs get a W against the Indians, 6-2; Sveum says Opening Day Lineup not set yet

The Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 in Goodyear, AZ today.  Rodrigo Lopez pitched 4.1 innings and allowed two runs.  Alfonso Soriano was 1 for 3 and hit hit sixth homer of the Spring.

Alfonso Soriano signing autographs today in Goodyear (photo from WGN-TV)
Rodrigo Lopez helped pitch the Cubs to a win over the Indians on Sunday
Cubs Manager Dale Sveum said that the lineup is not yet finalized, so he isn't completely sure if David DeJesus will be in the leadoff spot.  Sveum said, "It's probably going to be four days from now where we just sit down and say 'All right, this is what it's going to be on Opening Day.'  Nothing is etched in stone except Soriano is going to be (No.) 3, 4 or 5," he said.

Joe Mather’s spot on the roster seems secure, and that status was most likely assured even before he had another impressive day today.  Not only did he make a great catch in deep center field while reaching behind his head, he also delivered at the plate by hitting two doubles, which raised his Cactus League batting average to .432. 

Tomorrow the Cubs will play their last set of split-squad games of the Spring.  Paul Maholm, who has been named the Cubs' #5 starter, will start against the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Park at 3:05pm CST.  Jay Jackson will start the road game against the Diamondbacks at 3:10pm CST in Scottsdale.  Only 11 more days until Opening Day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cubs lose 5-1 to the Padres; Mateo and Kerry Wood Updates; Happy Birthday to Starlin Castro

The Cubs lost 5-1 to the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Park today.  Travis Wood was the starting pitcher and had a much better outing than last time, although he still gave up three runs and five hits and hit 2 by pitch and threw one strikeout over 3 2/3 innings pitched.  When asked regarding where he might start the season at, Wood said, "They're going to make their decisions, and whatever will be will be."

Cubs Outfielder Alfonso Soriano scored the Cubs' only run against the Padres on Saturday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Randy Wells pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief and allowed one hit.  He is still in the competition for a spot in the starting rotation along with Chris Volstad (who pitched in a Minor League game today), Jeff Samardzija, and Rodrigo Lopez.  "There's obviously competition going on," Wells said. "If you start getting caught up in that, it makes it tougher to pitch. I just go out there and try to do my best."  Wells has not given up a run over 7 1/3 innings in three Cactus League games.  "I'd be disappointed," Wells said of his reaction if he isn't named a starter. "Three years in the rotation, to have to go to the bullpen -- but it could be a new challenge and something exciting."

Volstad, who has given up one run on seven hits over 10 innings in his three Cactus League outings said, "I've tried to be efficient, getting ground balls, and I feel I've put in the hard work. It's not like I can control the decision, but I feel pretty good where I'm at right now."  Cubs Manager Dale Sveum is expected to finalize the starting rotation on Wednesday.

Cubs reliever Marcos Mateo will be resting for at least ten days and then have his right elbow re-examined after he underwent an MRI after being pulled from Thursday’s game in Surprise.

Sveum mentioned that Kerry Wood has not pitched since last Sunday.  Sveum said that there are no issues and the right-hander will get a couple more outings before the end of spring training.

Today is Starlin Castro's 22nd birthday.  On Thursday, he presented some children who are battling cancer at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa with a visit and autographed Cubs hats.

Cubs Shortstop Starlin Castro visited children in a Mesa hospital on Thursday (photo from Carrie Muskat)
Rodrigo Lopez and the Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians tomorrow at 3:05pm CST.  The game will be broadcast on WGN-TV and WGN-Radio.  Ryan Dempster will start in a Minor League game at Fitch Park..

Only 12 more days until Opening Day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cubs Beat the Rockies; Dempster Named Opening Day Starter; Spring Roster At 40

The Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-8 in Scottsdale.  Jeff Samardzija gave up 10 hits and 7 runs during 4 innings pitched and gets the win, although his ERA went from 2.70 to 6.43.  Casey Coleman allowed no earned runs in three innings.  Geovany Soto was 3 for 3 and hit two home runs and 5 RBIs.  Bryan LaHair was also 3 for 3.  Marlon Byrd was 2 for 3.

Geovany Soto was 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs in a 10-8 win vs. the Rockies today (AP photo)
The Cubs optioned Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Cardenas to Triple-A Iowa today.  They also sent Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson, Jim Adduci, and Michael Brenly to minor league camp today.  The spring roster now stands at 40 players.

Brett Jackson was sent to the Cubs' minor-league camp on Friday. (photo from US Presswire)
Cubs manager Dale Sveum announced that Ryan Dempster will be the Opening Day starter.  This will be Dempster's 2nd consecutive year as the Cubs' Opening Day starter and his 4th career Opening Day start.

Matt Garza will be the Cubs' #2 starter and Paul Maholm will be 5th starter.  Dale Sveum won't name starters #3 and #4 until Wednesday, March 28th.  The candidates for spots #3 and #4 are Randy Wells, Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija, and Rodrigo Lopez.

The new rooftop building owner of the former Lakeview Baseball Club building is debating whether or not to get rid of the Eamus Catuli and numbers signs and is looking to Cubs fans for their input.

Travis Wood will start tomorrow for the Cubs-Padres game, which will be televised on WGN-TV at 3:05pm CST.  Randy Wells, who has not walked a batter or given up a run over 5 2/3 innings in two Cactus League games, will follow Wood.  Meanwhile, Chris Volstad will pitch in a Minor League game at Fitch Park on Saturday.

Only 13 more days until Opening Day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cubs beat the Rangers, Ian Stewart with 1st HR of spring

The Cubs beat the Texas Rangers, 11-4 today.  Matt Garza made his final start of the Cactus League season.  Manager Dale Sveum confirmed he will announce Friday who the team's Opening Day starter will be (either Ryan Dempster or Garza). 

Garza pitched five innings today and gave up three runs, two hits, walked three, and struck out three.  Out of 81 pitches thrown, 48 were strikes.  Joe Mather was 3 for 3, with a home run, single, and double.  Alfonso Soriano also hit a two-run home run in the 5th inning.  Ian Stewart hit his first home run of the spring.  RHP Marcos Mateo was pulled in the 6th inning after throwing just two pitches.  His injury is unknown.

The Cubs optioned RHP Andy Sonnanstine to Triple-A Iowa today.  The Cubs roster currently stands at 47 players.

Cubs pitcher Andy Sonnanstine was optioned to Triple-A Iowa today (photo from US Presswire)
2 weeks until Opening Day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carlos Marmol's MRI is good news; Special Events at Wrigley Field; Jorge Soler Talks are Rumors

The Cubs had their only off-day of the spring today.  Their spring record currently stands at 8-12-1.

It was announced today that Stephen Strasburg will start for Washington Nationals on Opening Day April 5th vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  It's expected that Cubs manager Dale Sveum will announce the Cubs Opening Day starter (probably either Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza) later this week.

Within a week, the back end of the Cubs' starting rotation should be clearer.  Dempster, Garza, and Paul Maholm are locks for the first three spots, while Jeff Samardzija seems likely to be awarded the fourth spot, which leaves the fifth spot open for either Randy Wells, Chris Volstad, Rodrigo Lopez, or Travis Wood.

Jed Hoyer says that the Cubs have no deal in place for Jorge Soler and that the talk is just simply rumors.

An MRI revealed no significant nerve damage to Carlos Marmol's right hand, since he had cramping during yesterday's game and was pulled to get an MRI as a precautionary measure.

New this season, the Cubs are going to hold Special Event Nights at Wrigley Field, including a "Playing the Field" singles night with Cubs "Singles Night" Tees to let other singles know you're ready to mingle.  This should certainly be interesting, but you've got to give the Ricketts family credit for trying new promotions.  The other special event nights can be found here.

Wednesday, July 18 is 2012 Singles Night at Wrigley Field, one of the Special Events this season
 Only 15 more days until Opening Day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cubs lose to the Rangers and Tie with the A's; Only off day of the Spring Tomorrow

The Cubs played another pair of split-squad games today.  Ryan Dempster, who already has a guaranteed spot in the starting rotation, was the first Cubs starter to finish six spring innings and allowed four hits, two earned runs, issued two walks and three strikcouts today against the Rangers.  Although Blake DeWitt was 2 for 4 and had an RBI triple and scored and Starlin Castro was also 2 for 4 with a double and triple, the Rangers beat the Cubs 6-2.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the following about Dempster, "Very, very, very good.  Very good fastball command, he was able to pitch up in the zone.  It was kind of like the Dempster that pitches all the time that I've seen shove it up our butt in Milwaukee when I was there."  Dempster said, "I feel good, my body feels good, my arm feels really good.  I'm looking forward to a couple of more starts before the season starts."  We'll see if Dempster or Matt Garza will get the nod to be the Opening Day starter.

Ryan Dempster pitched 6 innings against the Rangers (photo from Chris Carlson/AP)
Closer Carlos Marmol had a cramp in his right hand during the Cubs-Rangers game and had a precautionary MRI.  Marmol said before going for the MRI that he wasn't worried.  "I know my body, I feel great," he said. "I don't know where (the cramp) comes from."

In the Cubs other split-squad game against the Oakland Athletics, Rodrigo Lopez, who is a contender for a starting rotation spot, pitched five innings and allowed three hits, one earned run, issued one walk and four strikeouts.  Tony Campana was 4 for 5 in the game.  The Cubs and A's ended in a 5-5 tie.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched against the A's today (photo from Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Cubs starter Paul Maholm has reached his goal of 20,000 followers on Twitter.  He tweeted today, "Gonna be doing the give away contest on Thursday. I will let u know what time. I have 2 opening day tix, a team signed ball etc up for grabs"  You can find and follow Maholm on twitter as @paul_maholm.

The Cubs have their only off day of the spring tomorrow.  Only 16 more days until Opening Day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cubs get a "W" over the Mariners, 12-7

Randy Wells allowed three hits and two runs this morning in a rare "B" game against the Cleveland Indians on a cold and windy back field in Goodyear.  The Cubs lost 6-5 and first baseman Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run triple in the game. 

Manager Dale Sveum said, "Wells actually was fairly sharp down in the zone.  He got the outs when he needed to.  [Cristian] Guzman, trying to get the guy over, hooked the ball out of the park on him.  Other than that, he didn't give up any runs.  He got out of some big jams with bases-loaded ground-ball double plays.  It wasn't bad by any means."  Wells finds himself in the competition (along with Chris Volstad, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood) for a spot in the starting rotation for the third year in a row.

Randy Wells is competing for a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation once again (photo from Reuters)
Travis Wood started in the Cubs game this afternoon against the Seattle Mariners.  He didn't have an impressive outing as he allowed 7 runs, 7 hits (including 3 home runs), 2 walks, 2 strikeouts in two innings pitched.  James Russell allowed zero runs, one hit, issued no walks, and threw one strikeout during two innings pitched.  Jay Jackson also didn't allow a run, but allowed 4 hits, one walk, and struck out one during four innings pitched.  The Cubs had a total of 18 hits from 13 different players and ended up beating the Mariners, 12-7.

Tomorrow the Cubs will face the Texas Rangers at 3:05pm in HoHoKam Park.  Only 17 more days until Opening Day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cubs win one and lose one in chilly AZ and Vegas today

On an unusual weather day where it was 30 degrees warmer in Chicago than in Arizona, the Cubs lost 7-5 to the White Sox in their split-squad game today in Mesa.  Casey Coleman had a better outing than previously as he allowed two hits, zero runs, zero walks, and three strikeouts over three innings.

Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol during the fifth inning of today's game against the White Sox. (photo from Jake Roth/US Presswire)
The Cubs won their other split-squad game 3-2 against the Rangers in Las Vegas.  Chris Volstad, who is in the competition for a spot in the starting rotation, was impressive, allowing four hits, one earned run, no walks, and three strikeouts in four innings pitched.  The Cubs' spring record stands at 7-11.

It seems possible that Jeff Samardzija has locked in the fourth starting rotation spot with the impressive spring he's had so far, even though he's only started in five major league games in his career.  The first three spots in the Cubs' rotation seem to be locked in to veterans Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Paul Maholm.  If Samardzija wins the fourth spot, that would mean that Randy Wells, Chris Volstad, and Travis Wood would all be competing for the fifth rotation spot.  It doesn't sound like the final decision regarding the fourth and fifth starting spots will be made until closer to the end of spring training. 

Tomorrow, Travis Wood will pitch against the Seattle Mariners, where he will have another chance to redeem himself, since he hasn't had a good spring so far.  The game will be broadcast live on a free audio webcast at 3:05pm CST.   Meanwhile, Randy Wells will start in a "B" game for the Cubs against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear at 10am, where he also has a chance to continue building his case for a spot in the starting rotation. 

On the other side of the Cubs organization, here's a link to an article in the Chicago Tribune about Cubs' Senior VP of Scouting and Player Development, Jason McLeod's key role in the team's rebuilding process. 

Jason McLeod, left, is a key part of the Theo Trio (photo from Phil Velasquez/Tribune)
18 more days until Opening Day!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cubs don't have luck of the Irish as they lose both split-squad games

On the warmest St. Patrick's Day in Chicago that I can remember, the Cubs lost both of their preseason games today out West.  They lost 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics and 12-7 to the Texas Rangers. 

Highlights of the split-squad games include Geovany Soto hitting his first homer of the spring in the game against the A's and Steve Clevenger and Junior Lake also homered in the game against the Rangers.

Paul Maholm allowed three unearned runs on two hits and two walks against the A's over three innings.  Jeff Samardzija allowed one run on three hits over four innings against the Rangers in Las Vegas.

Paul Maholm started against the Oakland A's today in Phoenix (photo from
The Cubs will play split-squad games again tomorrow.  Andy Sonnanstine will start against the White Sox at HoHoKam Park, while Chris Volstad will start in Las Vegas against the Rangers.  Both games will be at 3:05pm CST.  You can listen to the Cubs-Sox game on  Only 19 more days until Opening Day! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wrigley Field abuzz today; Cubs lose to the Giants; David DeJesus wins Bunting Tournament

The Cubs lost 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants today.  Matt Garza started for the Cubs and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and issued 1 walk over 4 innings pitched.  This was former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot's first trip back to HoHoKam Park since he was traded from the Cubs. has a complete game recap.

Former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot is now playing for the San Francisco Giants (photo from Jennifer Hilderbrand/US Presswire)
The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Frankie De La Cruz from the Brewers today and added him to the 40-man roster where he will be competing for a spot in the bullpen.  The Brewers were hoping that De La Cruz would clear waivers and start at Triple-A Nashville. 

David DeJesus defeated Casey Coleman to win the Cubs' first bunting tournament, held today on a back field at HoHoKam Park.  DeJesus beat Wellington Castillo in the semifinals and Coleman beat Paul Maholm to advance.  Apparently, the players were treated to lunch on the back field.

Cubs Bunting Tournament winner David DeJesus today
Wrigley Field was abuzz today with people attending tours of the historic ballpark and buying tickets.  Here are some photos of the action at Wrigley from earlier today:

The right field bleacher patio construction is ongoing at Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field was busy today (March 16th) with people going on tours and purchasing tickets
The Cubs will play two split squad games tomorrow.  Jeff Samardzija will start against the Texas Rangers in Las Vegas, while Paul Maholm will start in Phoenix against the Oakland A's.  Both games will take place at 3:05pm CST.  You can listen to the game against the A's on WGN Radio or  Only 20 more days until Opening Day! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cubs lose both split-squad games today and make roster moves

Although the Cubs had 11 hits in their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, they lost 12-2 in the split squad game.  Michael Brenly hit a home run and Matt Szczur hit an RBI single.

For their other split squad game, the Cubs lost 7-5 to the Colorado Rockies.  Junior Lake hit a 3-run homer and Bryan LaHair was 3 for 5.

Ryan Dempster started in the Mesa game today (photo from Boys of Spring/John Antonoff)

Darwin Barney was sidelined as a precautionary measure with tightness in left side, which was something he felt during batting practice today.  His status is day-to-day.

Blake DeWitt was pulled from the Cubs-Rockies game after being hit by a pitch in the right hand while batting.

Ian Stewart was sidelined with a sore right quad and is also day-to-day.  On a brighter note, Carlos Marmol settled down from his recent appearances and pitched a scoreless inning in relief today.  

Alberto Cabrera, Jeff Beliveau, John Gaub, and Josh Vitters were optioned to Triple-A Iowa today, while Junior Lake and Matt Szczur were optioned to Double-A Tennessee.  Jason Jaramillo was sent to minor league camp. The spring roster is at 48 players.

Tomorrow the Cubs will play the San Francisco Giants at 3:05 pm CST, where Matt Garza will start.  3 more weeks until Opening Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Randy Wells pitches 3 scoreless innings in Cubs' 10-2 loss to the Brewers; 80 degrees in Mesa and Chicago!

The Cubs lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 10-2 today.  Randy Wells continued his case for winning a starting rotation spot by pitching three scoreless innings and only allowing two hits today, after pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief against the White Sox last Friday.  "I was really pleased today," Wells said. "I didn't throw a whole lot of breaking stuff and really worked on my fastball command and sinker. When I did get guys on, I was able to get the ground ball. That's the one thing I'm taking away from today."

Randy Wells has pitched five scoreless innings so far this spring (photo by John Antonoff for Boys of Spring)

Unfortunately, things changed for the Cubs when Travis Wood came into the game in relief in the 4th inning and gave up six runs while retiring one batter while pitching only 1/3 of an inning.  "What happened today was unacceptable," Wood said. "It can't happen. . .It's time to get it going."  A complete recap of today's game can be found on

A crowd of 11,682 (the largest of the spring so far) was at HoHoKam Park to watch the game today in the 80-degree weather in Mesa.  It was also 80 degrees in Chicago today, which definitely means that Opening Day in 22 days won't be as nice!

The Cubs and Rodrigo Lopez will face the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale tomorrow, while Ryan Dempster will start against the Diamondbacks at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.  You can listen to the game in Mesa on at 3:05pm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chris Volstad leads the Cubs to a "W" over the Giants; Cubs spring roster down to 55 players

The Cubs earn another "W" in the Cactus League by beating the San Francisco Giants, 5-4 in Scottsdale.  Chris Volstad started for the Cubs and continued to impress by pitching three scoreless innings while allowing just two hits.  Volstad even got a single and ended up scoring.  "I don't know what happened," Volstad said. "That first swing was pretty terrible. I guess I fooled them."  The Cubs now have a spring record of 6-4.  Here's a link to a complete game recap on 

Chris Volstad led the Cubs to a win over the Giants today (photo from
Alfonso Soriano bats in the game against the Giants today (photo from Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE)

Right-handed pitchers Esmailin Caridad and Casey Weathers were assigned to Minor League camp today, leaving the Cubs spring roster at 55 players.

Right-handed pitcher Randy Wells will start for the Cubs tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers at HoHoKam Park at 3:05pm CST.  You can listen to the game on

Only 23 more days until Opening Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cubs win, 8-6 over the Reds

The Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds today 8-6 at HoHoKam Park.  Newly acquired left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm made his Cubs debut and allowed one run and two hits over two innings pitched.  Maholm hadn’t pitched in a game since August 17, 2011 because he missed the final six weeks with the Pittsburgh Pirates due to a left shoulder strain.  Jeff Samardzija pitched next, followed by Carlos Marmol, who allowed three runs on two hits, two walks, and also hit a batter.  It's Marmol's second blown lead in his last two outings.  Here's a link on for a recap of the game.

LHP Paul Maholm started for the Cubs-Reds game today

Former Cubs reliever Sean Marshall pitched for the Reds today
Chris Volstad will start for the Cubs when they play the San Francisco Giants tomorrow at 3:05pm CST in Scottsdale.  The game will be broadcast on

Only 24 more days until Opening Day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cubs scoreless against the Dodgers; Beliveau impressive; Gerardo Concepcion news

The Cubs bunting tournament continued, where David DeJesus defeated Starlin Castro to round out the Final Four, which also consists of Casey Coleman, Paul Maholm, and Wellington Castillo.

The Cubs lost 5-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers today, where former Cub Ted Lilly started for the Dodgers and Matt Garza was the Cubs starter.  Garza's line: 1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 R. 39 pitches/24 strikes.  Jeff Beliveau had an impressive outing as he pitched two scoreless innings in relief  and struck out five batters.  For a recap of the preseason game, you can link to the article on here.

A beautiful day at Camelback Ranch, where the Cubs played the Dodgers.

Former Cub Ted Lilly warms up before the Cubs-Dodgers game (photo from Paul Sullivan)
In other Cubs news, the team has signed Gerardo Concepcion to a five year deal with a guaranteed $6 million, with a $3 million signing bonus and the other $3 million spread out over the length of the contract.  The 20-year old was the was the Rookie of the Year last year in the Cuban National League.  You can read more about the deal here.

The next Cubs preseason game is tomorrow at 3:05pm CST against the Cincinnati Reds.  The game can be heard on WGN-Radio.  Only 25 more days until Opening Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cubs get a "W" over the Brewers, 6-1

The Cubs get second "W" in a row when they beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-1 in Maryvale today.  Ryan Dempster's first pitch to former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez almost beaned him in the head.  I wonder what message Demps was trying to send to Ramirez, unless the ball just 'slipped' out of his hand?  Dempster went on to throw three scoreless innings.  Here is link to a recap of the game from 

Former Cub Aramis Ramirez before today's game against the Cubs (photo from Paul Sullivan)

Cubs Pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee and Catcher Micah Gibbs were assigned to minor league camp today. The roster currently stands at 57 players.

The Cubs will play the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow at 2:05 at Camelback Ranch, where Matt Garza will square off against former Cub Ted Lilly.  You can watch the game on WGN-TV or catch the webcast on

Only 26 more days until Opening Day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cubs beat their Crosstown Rivals, 5-1 in Glendale; Single-Game Tickets Go on Sale to the Public

The Cubs beat the White Sox 5-1 at Camelback Ranch today.  Even though it's a preseason game, it's still fun whenever the Cubs can beat the Sox!  Darwin Barney drove home Alfonso Soriano in the first to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead.  Edgar Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the second inning after Junior Lake was walked.

Travis Wood pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up just a sacrifice fly.  However, he got into a bases-loaded one-out jam in the third, but Randy Wells came in to pitch in relief and was able to get the Cubs out of the jam by getting Paul Konerko to hit into a double play.  Wells pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit and struck out one batter.  When asked about the Cubs-Sox series without Ozzie Guillen, Wells said, “It’s quieter.”  Wells definitely helped his case for making the starting rotation after his impressive performance today.

Marlon Byrd homered in the sixth and Steve Clevenger homered in the seventh.  Rodrigo Lopez threw two hitless innings. 

The Cubs will play the Brewers in Maryvale tomorrow, where Ryan Dempster will be the starting pitcher.  Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the following about his old team, “It’ll be fun facing them.  I’m looking forward to it, to see the guys and say hello. We’ll try to beat their butts, but it’ll be good to see everybody.”  You can watch the game on WGN-TV and also listen on WGN-Radio at 2:05pm CST.  Catcher Geovany Soto is expected to play tomorrow, after being sidelined due to a groin injury.

On another note, Cubs single game tickets went on sale today.  Here are some photos from the Cubs' twitter account:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts greets the first Cubs fan in line this morning to buy single game tickets at Wrigley Field.

Cubs Board Member Laura Ricketts offering coffee to Cubs fans buying tickets at Wrigley Field.
 27 more days until Opening Day!  The Cubs "W" over the Sox is a great way to start the weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cubs featured on MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days (video) and lose 10-3 to the Mariners

The Cubs lost to the Seattle Mariners 10-3 today.  Chris Volstad was impressive in his Cubs debut.  He allowed one hit and threw three strikeouts over three innings pitched.  Kerry Wood also had his spring debut and allowed one hit during the inning he pitched.  However, Carlos Marmol was another story, giving up four runs on four hits and also hit a batter in the fifth inning, which resulted in the Cubs trailing the Mariners, 5-1.  Alfonso Soriano hit his third homer of the spring in the second inning and Jeff Baker went 2-for-2 today.

Kerry Wood had his spring debut today

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer taking in today's Cubs vs. Mariners game at HoHoKam Park

The Cubs were featured on MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days last night.  Following are links to segments from the show:

Kerry Wood discusses his cutter and being an elder in the bullpen

Ryan Dempster talking about the Cubs Way and does his Harry Caray impression

Geovany Soto on his injury and adding muscle in the offseason

Manager Dale Sveum talks about how he's changed the team's atmosphere

Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and Ian Stewart demonstrating a hitting drill
Starlin Castro demonstrates the footwork he's been working on this Spring

Anthony Rizzo talks about being acquired by the Cubs

The Cubs Bunting Tournament continued today.  Casey Coleman, Paul Maholm and Wellington Castillo advanced over Jeff Beliveau, Randy Wells, and Adrian Cardenas.  Starlin Castro will go up against David DeJesus to round out the final four.

The Cubs will play the White Sox tomorrow at 2:05pm.  You can watch it on WGN-TV (this will be the first Cubs Cactus League game to be televised this season!)  The lineup for tomorrow will be:

Soriano DH
Barney 2B
Baker RF
LaHair 1B
Byrd CF
Mather LF
Clevenger C
Lake SS
Gonzalez 3B

Travis Wood will be tomorrow's starting pitcher and Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez are also scheduled to pitch.  Only 28 days to go until Opening Day!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cubs win 6-4 over the Royals in Surprise, AZ today; Cubs Ticket info; Bat Boys/Bat Girls needed

A crowd of 1,493 was on hand in Surprise, Arizona to watch the Cubs win 6-4 over the Royals today.  Jeff Samardzija allowed one hit over three scoreless innings, which helped to make his case for a starting rotation spot.  Samardzija said, "It was kind of fun, kind of like pitching at Wrigley today with that wind. Felt great. We're where we want to be right now."

The first round of roster cuts could come Friday or Saturday, according to manager Dale Sveum.

Chris Volstad will start in tomorrow's 2:05pm (CST) game against the Seattle Mariners, and Travis Wood will get things started against the Chicago White Sox on Friday.  Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez are also scheduled to pitch in Friday's game, which will be televised on WGN-TV.

The Cubs MasterCard Presale started at noon today on  If you feel like paying 20% over face value (or 15% if you pay with a MasterCard), here's a link to buy tickets:  The sale will end on Thursday, March 8, at 11:59 p.m.

Otherwise, single game tickets go on sale this Friday, March 9th.  Here's a link to ticket information from

Tickets for the Cubs' new patio section in the right-field bleachers range from $125 to $250.  Here's a Chicago Tribune article about the seats:,0,4740262.story

The Cubs and CareerBuilder have launched a search for the next Wrigley Field ball boys and ball girls. Qualified candidates are invited to submit their applications, including a video sample, now through March 12 at

The Cubs will be featured on MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days tonight at 6pm CST.  Here are a couple of photos from the show taping:

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein being interviewed for MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days

New Cubs Third Baseman Ian Stewart being interviewed for MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days
29 more days to go until Opening Day!  Go Cubs Go!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cubs get their first Cactus League win over the Rockies, 11-4

The Cubs have clocked their first win of the Cactus League this season against the Colorado Rockies, 11-4.  Matt Garza gave up two runs and three hits during the two innings he pitched.  Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs and a double, driving in three runs.  Brett Jackson also hit a three-run homer.

Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs in today's 11-4 win over the Rockies.
Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart tweeted today, "Fun playing against the Rox today. Good seeing my buds and . fans there were good too. U guys always were. Thanx"

The Cubs also held Round 3 of their bunting tournament.  David DeJesus, Randy Wells, Starlin Castro, and Paul Maholm advanced, while Jeff Baker, Jeff Samardzija, Joe Mather, and manager Dale Sveum were eliminated.  Maholm will face Wells in the next round and DeJesus and Castro will compete against each other.  Other final eight matchups include Jeff Beliveau vs. Casey Coleman and Adrian Cardenas vs. Welington Castillo.

Catcher Geovany Soto is expected to be able to make his spring debut on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers (he has been sidelined with a groin injury).

A trailer for Playstation's MLB 2012 video game shows what the city of Chicago might be like if the Cubs were to win the World Series.  Downtown buildings are lit up to spell out "Cubs win" and delirious fans are shown filling the streets to celebrate what would be the Cubs' first world championship since 1908.  Here is a link to the trailer:

Jeff Samardzija will make his first start against the Kansas City Royals tomorrow in Surprise, Arizona.  The game is scheduled for 2:05pm and will be broadcasted on WGN Radio.  30 more days until Opening Day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cubs lose 8-7 to the A's; Agree to deals with 24 players; Bunting tournament continues

The Cubs lost their second Cactus League game, 8-7 to the Oakland Athletics today.  Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs and allowed one run over two innings.  Blake DeWitt hit a 3-run home run in the second inning to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.  Darwin Barney, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli, and Josh Vitters each had RBIs in today's game.

Ryan Dempster had his spring debut for the Cubs today
The Cubs agreed to contracts with 24 players on the 40-man roster who have had 3 years or less of Major League service.  The league minimum salary this year is $480,000.  Five of those 24 Cubs players have agreed to deals over $500,000 and they are: Jeff Samardzija at $2.64 million, James Russell at $512,000, Starlin Castro at $567,000, Darwin Barney at $500,000, and Travis Wood at $505,000.

The full list of players who agreed to deals are:

Right-handed pitchers:  Alberto Cabrera, Lendy Castillo, Casey Coleman, Rafael Dolis, Marcos Mateo, Jeff Samardzija, and Casey Weathers.

Left-handed pitchers:  Jeff Beliveau, John Gaub, Scott Maine, James Russell, and Travis Wood.

Catchers:  Wellington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.

Infielders: Darwin Barney, Adrian Cardenas, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, and Josh Vitters.

Outfielders:  Tony Campana, Dave Sappelt, and Matt Szczur.

The Cubs Bunting Tournament continued into Round 3 today, where Wellington Castillo, Adrian Cardenas, Casey Coleman, and Jeff Beliveau advanced, while Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli, Chris Rusin, and Trey McNutt were eliminated.

The Cubs will play their next Cactus League game tomorrow at 2:05pm against the Colorado Rockies at HoHoKam Park.  The broadcast can be heard on WGN Radio.  One month from today is Cubs Opening Day!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cubs open 2012 spring training with a 12-10 loss against the A's

The Cubs lost to the Oakland Athletics, 12-10 in their Cactus League opener today in front of a crowd of 10,366 at HoHoKam Park.  It sure sounded like perfect baseball weather (sunny, 82 degrees), from the way Len Kasper and Micky Gillespie described it on the podcast.

The Cubs came back to take the lead from a 9-3 deficit in the 6th when Adrian Cardenas hit a stand-up triple that scored Jackson, Aducci, and Sappelt.  But the A's took back the lead in the 8th, making it 10-9.  Dave Sappelt's base running paid off in the 8th when he scored on a wild throw to tie the game at 10.  But the A's managed to score 2 more runs and take the win.  Here are some photos from today's game:

David DeJesus on-deck during today's Cactus League opener against the Oakland A's (photo from Ivy Envy)

Ian Stewart at the plate (photo from Ivy Envy)
David DeJesus steals second base as Oakland's Eric Sogard bobbles the ball (photo from  US PRESSWIRE)  
Carlos Marmol pitches against the Oakland A's (photo from US PREESSWIRE)

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start for Game 2 tomorrow at 2:05pm against the A's.  The game will be broadcasted on WGN-Radio.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cubs to play another intrasquad game today; first spring training game tomorrow; Bricks & Ivy Ball

The Cubs will play another intrasquad game today at HoHoKam Park at 1pm Arizona time (2pm Chicago time).  The Cubs will also play their first spring training game tomorrow against the Oakland A's at 2:05pm Chicago time.  Rodrigo Lopez is scheduled to start tomorrow.  Manager Dale Sveum hasn't set the starting lineup for tomorrow's Cactus League opener, but did say that he plans on using his regulars.

Look at what came in the mail this morning:

Invitation to the Chicago Cubs Bricks & Ivy Ball that I received in the mail today.
This makes me really long for some Cubs baseball!  Is anyone planning on going to the Bricks & Ivy Ball?  It's on Saturday, April 25th at 6pm at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.  Individual tickets are $500. 

The Cubs Bunting Tournament will be reseeded with the 16 remaining players and will resume on Monday, with the championship slated for March 15th.

The 2012 Cubs Media Guide was released today.  Here's what the front cover looks like:

Front cover of the 2012 Cubs Media Guide
 Only 33 days until Opening Day! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cubs played intrasquad game today; Bunting tournament down to Sweet Sixteen

The Cubs played an intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park today.  Travis Wood gave up 6 R, 6 H, 2 BB over 3 IP for the White team, while Randy Wells gave up 3 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB over 3 innings for the Blue team.  The final score was: Blue team 10, White team 4.

The Cubs played an intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park today (photo from Chicago Cubs)
The White team's lineup (with Travis Wood starting and Andy Sonnanstine in relief) was:

LF Soriano
3B Stewart
SS Castro
1B LaHair
CF Byrd
RF DeJesus
C Lalli
2B Barney
DH DeWitt

The Blue team's lineup (with Randy Wells starting and Casey Coleman in relief) was:

CF Jackson
RF Szczur
2B Baker
1B Rizzo
LF Johnson
3B Vitters
SS Lake
C Brenly
DH Campana

Randy Wells pitching today (photo from Tim Sheridan)  

Travis Wood pitching today (photo from Tim Sheridan)

It was a busy day for the Cubs today, as they also continued the bunting tournament.  Paul Maholm, Jeff Baker, Dale Sveum, and David DeJesus advanced, while Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster, and Marlon Byrd were eliminated.

The bunting tournament is now down to 16 players, including Jeff Beliveau, Trey McNutt, Chris Rusin, Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells, Paul Maholm, and Dale Sveum in the pitchers' bracket, while Adrian Cardenas, Blake Lalli, Wellington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Joe Mather, Starlin Castro, Jeff Baker, and David DeJesus remain in the position players’ half of the bracket.

The Cubs will play another intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park tomorrow at 1pm local time (2pm Chicago time) and their first spring training game against the Oakland A's will take place on Sunday at 2:05pm Chicago time.  Rodrigo Lopez is scheduled to start on Sunday.