Pitchers and catchers reported to Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona Thursday afternoon, and Cubs management, both executive and field versions, held a news conference to talk about some player news, helpfully streamed live online by CSNChicago.com.
Summarizing the main points made at the confab:
- Jason Hammel and James McDonald are now officially signed to one-year contracts, both on the 40-man roster. Hammel's deal was previously announced as $6 million; McDonald will get $1 million.
- Jake Arrieta has some shoulder "tightness" and will not start throwing right away.
- Likely as a result, Carlos Villanueva will be "stretched out" to start in camp, much as he was a year ago.
- Arodys Vizcaino is healthy and could have a shot at this year's bullpen.
- Starlin Castro "is our shortstop." Perhaps in related news, Javier Baez will get some time at second base and third base this spring.
- More related news: Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy are the "incumbents" at third base, and it will be up to Mike Olt to take the job from them.
- Justin Grimm is going to be converted to relief.
- Theo said the team will continue to draft pitching, though not necessarily in the first round.
And finally, and I know some of you are disappointed, the bunting tournament is "likely" history. The tournament was, from what I understand, a Dale Sveum thing, more for a team-building exercise than to actually practice bunting (something I'm sure you noticed if you saw the team's poor bunting skills in games the last two years). How serious a thing could it have been if Nate the Video Guy almost won it? I, for one, will not miss it.