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Cubs Pitchers And Catchers Begin Spring Workouts

Here's a photo and video gallery of what went on at the Cubs spring complex Saturday morning.

MESA, Arizona -- A much smaller crowd than I expected (especially on a gorgeous Saturday morning) gathered at the fields surrounding Sloan Park in Mesa to watch the Cubs' first official pitcher/catcher workout of the spring.

Perhaps 75-80 people were on the back fields and maybe about as many at fields 1 and 2 watched Cubs pitchers do infield and outfield drills and then catchers took batting practice.

Watching drills is an interesting experience. It's fun... for a couple of minutes. Then you realize it's the same drill, over and over and over. Obviously, doing this is important for the season to come. I hope the short videos below give you an idea of how it's done. Pitchers are divided into groups. One was most of the starters (Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks were in this group), another had most of the primary relievers (Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop), the third was mostly non-roster and minor-league guys. The fourth group, which was on Field 1, included Jon Lester, Travis Wood and John Lackey.

The schedule you see in photo 1 is something the Cubs post every day of workouts. It's a nice thing for fans to find out what's going on, on which field. Thanks to the Cubs for this small fan-friendly gesture.

Photos 2 through 5 give you an idea of the layout of the four practice fields at the west end of the complex, as shown on the map.

Photo 17 will give you an idea of just how far Kyle Schwarber hit that ball last Wednesday. You'll note a blue car and a silver car parked just behind where the left-hand tree is on that photo. That's about where the ball was hit. Home plate is next to the screen at the left side of the photo, and the screen in front of those cars is at least 30 feet high, possibly 40 feet.

After the pitcher drills, some of the pitchers headed off for bullpen work, which isn't visible from an area fans can access. The catchers split up into groups for batting practice. I went to field 2, where Willson Contreras was among the small group hitting. You can see him in photos 19 and 20, and in video #10.

Hope this gives you a bit of the flavor of what goes on at Cubs spring-training workouts. I ran into BCBer puckov while watching Contreras take BP -- nice to see you. I'll definitely be back Wednesday for the first full-squad workout. Here are the 10 short videos I took of various drills.