MESA, Arizona -- Dexter Fowler walked onto Field 6 as Joe Maddon was gathering the entire team for a meeting on the mound. At first it looked like just a team meeting, but then excited rumors began to pass through the crowd: "Isn't that Dexter Fowler?" When applause broke out and the word started coming down through Twitter, those of us watching this morning's workouts knew we were seeing something unique.
I don't think I've ever seen a player join a team in a way quite like that. We've all seen "Hug Watch" at the trading deadline. This seems like the reverse of that. The Cubs all seemed thrilled to have Fowler back. Photo 7 above shows Joe Maddon addressing the team while they were announcing the return of Fowler.
The rest of the day was taken up by the usual, at this time of camp: fielding drills. I've posted a few short videos of what was happening on the various fields in order to show you how these things work. The videos are only a minute long, or less, but these drills go on for maybe 20-30 minutes. They'll do more of them in the days to come.
After fielding drills were finished, there was live batting practice -- Cubs hitters hitting of Cubs pitchers. The only one I was able to see was a few minutes of Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist hitting off John Lackey.
The reason I could stick around just briefly for the BP session I saw was that the Cubs invited me (and the rest of the group who talked to Tom Ricketts yesterday) to lunch. No, really. This was in order to show off and sample some of the new food selections they'll have at Sloan Park this year. With the big news today, I'll have a complete report on that here tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are the videos from Thursday's workout.