Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dave Sappelt touches home after scoring in a spring training game. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Having driven all the way to Goodyear on Sunday to see the Cubs play the Indians, I decided to skip driving there again on a weekday and possibly get stuck in rush-hour traffic returning. (This was clearly the right call, since the game was the longest one of the entire spring with a game time of 3:33 and didn't end until almost 4:40.)
Not many fans -- Cubs or Reds, though it sounded on the radio broadcast like an overwhelming majority that were there were Cubs fans -- went to today's 7-4 win over the Reds at all. Just 4,099 showed up at Goodyear to see Matt Garza throw pretty well -- he was charged with two runs, but both scored after he left the game for Shawn Camp, who was making his Cubs debut in an effort to continue his career at age 36.
Camp threw two decent innings, which probably puts him in the bullpen mix, given the fact that management still seems to think Jeff Samardzija is better served in the rotation (I'd disagree, since Randy Wells could take his spot and Shark become a solid setup man).
Lendy Castillo came in and once again proved (to me, at least) that he's not ready for the major leagues, by balking in a run. Fortunately for the Cubs, Welington Castillo bailed out L. Castillo with his ninth-inning home run that won the game. Dave Sappelt tacked on a three-run shot to ice the win.
L. Castillo has a good arm. I'd love to see the Cubs make some sort of deal so they could keep him and send him to Double-A where he can work on his command.
After tomorrow's game at Mesa against the Indians, the brass is going to make most of the roster decisions:
The Cubs still have 40 players in camp but manager Dale Sveum and the coaching staff will meet after Wednesday’s game to finalize the roster.
"We’ll get everything 95 percent finished," Sveum said Tuesday.
The Cubs need to pick their backup catcher between Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo, settle on the bench, and complete the bullpen. However, deciding the final relievers may not be announced Thursday. Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood are set and James Russell appears to be the only left-hander in the mix. The rest is still to be determined.
"[I want to] let people know Thursday, and that leaves five days to get to play and do things the way we’re going to to them during the season," Sveum said.
I think Clevenger probably has the gig -- Sveum has been using him at first base, to try to see if he's versatile enough to play there once in a while, and he hits lefthanded, which is important because it appears Joe Mather is also going to make the team.
Wednesday, I'll be back in Mesa, where Jeff Samardzija will start against the Indians' Josh Tomlin.