Early Spring Notes

While we all sit and laugh as Ryan Braun tries to continue convincing people outside of Wisconsin (because people here are delusional and still think he’s innocent) that he didn’t use synthetic testosterone, some Cubs Spring Training bullets…

  • Today, on Twitter, I discovered Meghan Montemurro, Cubs (and Sox…but who cares) beat writer for the Northwestern Herald, is all over it.  She’s been dropping knowledge from Cubs’ Camp all day.  Follow her @M_Montemurro.  You won’t be disappointed.
  • Among her topics covered are Jorge Soler and Javier Baez, and how they will be used this spring.  She says that they will likely play together during spring games.  That should make for an interesting opportunity to see the two biggest names in the Cubs’ system on the field at the same time.  Soler is expected to play in both corner outfield slots.
  • Soler says he’s going to be in the majors next year.  That’s a lofty goal, and some serious talk out of a guy who hasn’t played much in the last couple of years and is likely going to Kane County to open 2013…but I love the fire and confidence.  Based on the show that everyone in Mesa is reporting he put on today in batting practice, it’s an exciting thought.  With him working in left and right field, he could be a legitimate option to replace Alfonso Soriano when his contract expires after 2014, should Soriano be on the roster that long.  Dale Sveum says Soler is not on a fast track to Chicago, though.  That seems to fit the “they’ll be up when they’re ready” approach the organization is taking with its prospects.
  • Carlos Villanueva thinks he can throw 200 innings this season…which is a lot more than he ever has.  For what it’s worth, Dale Sveum says he’s in better shape and has a more mature attitude than he did in Milwaukee.  I can see the conditioning part of it.  Beer and cheese curds tend to hurt the physique (speaking from experience more than my knowledge of his diet), but it’s great news on attitude.  I think we all know he’s going to be a key guy out of the ‘pen.  Travis Wood throwing well seems to work to his favor.  Wood would be the only lefty in the rotation.
  • Dale Sveum acknowledged 3B Ian Stewart was away from the team after surgery (which anyone who follows Stewart on Twitter already knew a long time ago), but didn’t think it was a big deal.  Sveum did say he told Stewart that he could have been around a bit more.  As far as rehab goes, a lot of players stay (like Garza) and a lot of players like to go off on their own (like Stewart).  I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about from a character standpoint.  Some players go away because it bothers them to be around and not be able to contribute.  It really boils down to “to each their own” when it comes to rehabbing injuries.  Sveum also said he thinks Stewart can hit 15-25 HRs and drive in between 75 and 100 runs.  That would be in the Aramis Ramirez zone of production…so we would all take it.  Gladly.
  • Some of the people who have seen Brett Jackson’s reworked swing are saying his hands are lower, especially his back hand, and his bat speed seems to be just as good as it’s always been.  That’s good news for his power.  It’ll take live pitching to see how well he’s done with reworking his swing, but early reports seem to be positive.  Bleacher Nation has video of the swing posted, here.
  • Dale Sveum said Matt Garza looked better today than he did the other day.  Hopefully, his elbow issue is behind him.  I am still in the corner of extending him for a reasonable (Anibal Sanchez like) contract.  He’s a great teammate and he’s a pretty good pitcher, too.  Plus, if you listened to him at the Cubs Convention at all, the man is hilarious and loves to have fun. At the moment, the Cubs need to have enough a veteran or two on the roster that help keep a young team loose.

There is a lot of info circulating about position players at Cubs camp…which is great news, since they’re not due in camp until tomorrow.

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