Monday, March 11, 2013

David DeJesus defends Bunting title; Cubs reduce spring roster to 53 players; Injury updates

David DeJesus is the winner and defending champion of the 2nd Cubs bunting tournament.  Congrats to the Cubs outfielder, who beat Nate Halm, a video staffer, in the final round.

The first place prize was $3,400, of which $1,000 will be donated to the family of Tom Pratt, who is a longtime Cubs Minor League coach who passed away last December.

David DeJesus proudly wearing the Cubs bunting tournament championship belt

Since there are just a few weeks of Spring Training left, the Cubs made some roster moves today, which include:

Alberto Cabrera, Brooks Raley, Trey McNutt and Logan Watkins have been optioned to the Iowa Cubs.  Robert Whitenack has been optioned to the Tennessee Smokies and Nick Struck has been sent to minor league camp.  The current Cubs roster stands at 53 players, which includes 25 pitchers (nine non-roster invitees), five catchers (two non-roster invitees), 13 infielders (five non-roster invitees) and 10 outfielders (three non-roster invitees).

Last Friday, March 8th, the Cubs optioned Matt Szczur to the Smokies and assigned Dayan Diaz and Michael Brenly (both non-roster invitees) to minor league camp.

As far as the Cubs performance this spring, manager Dale Sveum isn't satisfied with the team's low on-base percentage.  "We've got to start kicking it in.  It's getting to that time in Spring Training where the core players will play quite a bit, longer innings and get more at-bats," Sveum said.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo will miss a few more days as he has been playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic and shortstop Starlin Castro is expected to return on Wednesday, after being sidelined since February 27th with hamstring tightness.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic (Chicago Tribune photo)
Sveum is optimistic about the core starting players for the team and said, "You've got a lot of young kids, raw kids, who aren't very patient at the plate and making quick outs.  That's a concern for another day.  I'll be more concerned [if there are problems] when I'm putting my regular eight guys out there and Rizzo is here and Castro is here."

I definitely agree with him and am curious to see how the team does with the regular starting players.  Hopefully there will be more wins, even if they are exhibition games!

Utility player Brent Lillibridge is also expected to return Wednesday, after suffering a strained groin on February 27th.

Third baseman Ian Stewart, who left an intrasquad game on February 21st with soreness in his quad is expected to return and play this Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale.

Sveum said the following about Stewart's chances to make the team, “He came in knowing it was a job he was going to have to play well and produce (to start).  There are still 16, 17 possible games left starting Thursday, so hopefully cram 30 at-bats into that, and some minor league at-bats, too.  Go down there and lead-off and get 7-8 at-bats in a day.”

Josh Vitters, who has also been sidelined with a quad injury will also return Thursday as a reserve.

Can you believe there are just 22 days until the Cubs open their season in Pittsburgh against the Pirates?  Go Cubs Go!

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