USA Today Sports
The Cubs are under .500 for the spring. That really doesn't matter, but it still would be nice to win a game.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- It's sunny again today with the high temperature expected to be near 80.
Yes, yes, I know. If you're in Chicago or nearby, you probably really didn't want to hear that, given the snowstorm that's starting to pound you. So listen to some Cubs baseball this afternoon and think spring! The regular season is just 26 days away.
That's one reason the Cubs are holding Starlin Castro out until at least this weekend:
"He's fine," Sveum said. "He did everything [Sunday] and there's nothing going on. He took full [batting practice]. Today, he'll be out here on the field taking a round of [batting practice], same as yesterday. We can't even simulate any kind of discomfort or feeling in the hamstring." So, why give Castro another week? "Because we have plenty of time," Sveum said. "A week from now, you're talking the 1Oth or 11th [of March], and we have 2O-plus games after that. That's plenty of time for him to get in Opening Day shape."
Sveum also said that if this were the regular season, Castro would be playing. That's one benefit of the extended spring season. Here's more from earlier this morning:
Also, I was very pleased to read that MLB is going to be testing expanded replay during Pool 2 World Baseball Classic games in Miami next week:
A group of officials will take notes on matters such as which camera angles are used, how long it takes to make a clear decision on close plays and compare that to the estimated time it would take to review calls under various options that are being considered. Still to be determined: Whether managers will be allowed to challenge decisions or whether that will be handled by a designated umpire, whether there would be a replay umpire on site for every game or whether the reviews would all be made from a central location and exactly which calls could potentially be reversed.
To me, the ideal situation would be to have a replay umpire on site for all games. Obviously, that would increase costs -- to have a minimum of 15 more full-time umpires. So the central-location idea, which is now used by the NHL, might be the best solution. MLB already has a state-of-the-art studio in New Jersey for MLB Network; its facilities could be used.
Let's get this done already.
Sappelt CF, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Hairston RF, Lake 3B, Bogusevic 1B, Maysonet SS, Szczur LF, Feldman P
A Cubs pitcher takes the No. 9 spot in the batting order for the first time this spring.
Fowler CF, Rutledge 2B, Tulowitzki SS, Rosario C, Helton 1B, Nelson 3B, R. Wheeler DH, Matthes RF, T. Wheeler LF
Jeff Francis takes the mound for the Rox. Other Colorado pitchers available: Daniel Rosenbaum, Manuel Corpas (back from his year with the Cubs on a NRI), Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, Josh Sullivan, Logan Kensing, Tyler Anderson
Today's game at Mesa is a webcast on cubs.com (and via the MLB At Bat app) with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast will be online starting approximately 1:50 p.m. CT.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.