The Cubs announced the name of 16 non-roster players they'll have in camp when it opens one month from now.
Last week, I posted this list of seven Cubs non-roster spring-training invitations. To recap, those seven are:
Pitchers Andrew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Blake Parker, Cory Wade Catcher J.C. Boscan Infielder Edwin Maysonet Outfielder Brian Bogusevic
Thursday, the Cubs announced that nine additional players would be receiving non-roster invitations to camp. They are:
Pitchers Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Zack Putnam, Hisanori Takahashi Infielders Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Brad Nelson Outfielders Johermyn Chavez, Darnell McDonald
Some of those names have been mentioned here before, including Takahashi, who I posted about here December 27.
To me, the most interesting names on that list are Lillibridge and McDonald. Lillibridge doesn't hit much but is a useful defensive replacement and pinch-runner. He had a real good year for the White Sox in 2011, hitting .258/.340/.505 with 13 home runs in just 186 at-bats. Last year he was awful and the White Sox sent him to Boston in the Kevin Youkilis deal. He wound up in Cleveland, where players like this often end up. Still, he's a worthwhile NRI risk. He should get that string on his glove fixed before he reports to camp, though.
McDonald is a bit older -- 33 -- and had a good year for the Red Sox in 2010, when he hit .270/.336/.429 with nine home runs in 319 at-bats. He seems the type of guy who's around to play in split-squad games.
The Cubs will likely add to this list later with some minor leaguers from inside the organization who will play in major-league spring-training games for the first couple of weeks; normally, there are about 60-65 players in camp to start. This list would make 56, counting the 40-man roster, so the Cubs could add anywhere from about four to nine of their own minor leaguers. What this all means is baseball is getting closer. Pitchers and catchers report in just 31 days -- February 10, one month from today.