It was a slugfest in Mesa Wednesday afternoon, but you probably want to hear about Castro. (Hint: it's not as bad as you think.)
This game was ridiculously long.
Those of you of a certain age will remember how Johnny Carson used to make remarks like that, to which the retort was, "How long was it?"
No innuendo here, just facts. They barely got out of the second inning after an hour had gone by. Two hours, top of the fifth. Three hours, top of the seventh.
And this is just the beginning of spring training. At least it wasn't like one of those regular-season games which end up 3-2 and close to four hours because pitchers can't throw strikes and managers keep traipsing to the mound to switch pitchers.
No, this one at least had some action: lots of hits from both sides early in the game, four-run innings from both sides, a total of 24 hits, 10 walks, six errors and 18 runs combined, and eventually, after three hours and 45 minutes, an 11-7 Cubs loss to the Dodgers. Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits each. No Cubs pitcher did very well; only Michael Bowden had a scoreless outing, and you really don't want to know much about the rest of the staff, most of whom aren't going to be on the major-league roster this year. At least some of the Cubs runs (four of them) came off a big-league starter, Aaron Harang.
But what you really want to hear about is the injury to Starlin Castro, who pulled up short of first base running out a play on which he was eventually ruled safe on a throwing error by Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon. Here's what we know as of now:
Athletic trainer checking on #Cubs Starlin Castro after he pulled up running to 1st. Castro coming out of game— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 27, 2013
There was also this:
Castro's hamstring tightness now being called mild hamstring tightness. Heading in the right direction.— John Arguello (@CubsDen) February 27, 2013
If there's any good news in this, it's the fact that it's February 27 -- 33 days until Opening Day. Thus, Castro can sit out for a few days and get it right and not miss any regular-season time. I'm sure the team will take it very slow with Castro and make sure everything's OK. He's officially being called "day-to-day", but if it were up to me, the "day" he plays again wouldn't be any earlier than Tuesday. If you find more information via Twitter on this injury, post it in the comments.
Attendance on another cool (62 degrees at game time) afternoon was another very small gathering of 4,572, making the Cubs home season total 16,377, and the three-game average 5,459. I'm not surprised at the tiny crowds this week, given the coolish weather and the fact that it's not yet anywhere close to spring break time, when most people take their Arizona trips. (Incidentally, I'll be at games starting next Monday, March 4, through the rest of the spring season.)