MESA, Arizona -- It was a busy Saturday morning at the back fields at the Sloan Park complex. Perhaps as many as 300 people watched the Cubs do infield drills and take live batting practice, with Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks and Pedro Strop pitching. And, here's a likely very good reason for Hendricks and Wood to be throwing Saturday:
Kyle Hendricks will follow Travis Wood in the #Cubs Cactus League opener— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 27, 2016
With the Cactus League opener Thursday, that gives both of them four days' rest before pitching in game action. I'd expect them both to go two innings.
Photo 4 looks like an ordinary team meeting, but after MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre met with Cubs players to talk about the new sliding rules, that particular group was Joe Maddon giving a small demonstration of how these rules might come into play in game situations. Here's what Maddon said about this after the workout:
#Cubs met with MLB officials today to discuss rules re: neighborhood play. Maddon: "There is no neighborhood any more. The 'hood's gone."— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 27, 2016
After some fielding drills, live batting practice took place, mostly on fields 5 and 6 (see the map in photo 1). I took quite a bit of video of the various goings-on at practice Saturday, and they tell the story of the day better than any words can, so enjoy. Just five more days until there's Cubs game action for real, Thursday afternoon against the Brewers at Maryvale. The first Sloan Park game is Friday against the Angels.