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Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer And Rick Renteria Hold A News Conference

With actual player news!

Al Yellon

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

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.