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Cub Tracks is ready for Yu

Lester’s hoops dreams, free parking, space donuts, and other bullets

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The Hendricks Experience.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Last time through the gate, we sallied fourth to our radios and listened as there was no vidcast. I do wish all spring-training games were on the air — I don’t see why they’re not.

Baseball does a crappy job of promoting the game sometimes. I should think that you just take a product like that and put it in front of people, feature the work and personalities of your stars, and open the floodgates.

It should be that simple.

Should be. Anyway, we’ve split the baseball history and the links again. This may or may not be permanent
It remains to be seen

Yu for Jake? I call that a bargain.

Now that we’ve built the fourth wall, let’s move on to the news, shall we? As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs news and notes:

“He’s a perfect example of an under-the-radar guy,” Maddon said of Bote, an 18th-round pick in 2012 who batted .272 at Double-A Tennessee last season. “He’s got great tools. I didn’t know he could play third base that well.

”On top of all of that, if you say ‘David Bote’ very quickly, it sounds like ‘David Bowie,’ so I’m encouraging him to use ‘Rebel, Rebel’ as his walk-up music,” Maddon said. — Carrie Muskat.

New closer Brandon Morrow (is) expected to make his Cubs debut Tuesday. Because Morrow pitched an extra month last year with the Dodgers going to the World Series, the Cubs decided to take a cautious approach this spring. - Carrie Muskat.

  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Brian Butterfield is trying to be Tex Winter, teaching the perfect bounce pass to Jon Lester. “No, it wasn’t my line – I probably would have used McHale and Bird,” said Butterfield.
  • Tom Schad (USA Today): Cubs’ Jon Lester has new approach in throwing to first: ‘Bounce pass’. “I don’t really care what it looks like,” Lester told reporters.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jon Lester tackles throwing to bases one bounce at a time. “We’re working on the Jordan-to-Pippen bounce pass,” Lester said.
  • ESPN*: Jon Lester trying ‘Jordan-to-Pippen bounce’ in unorthodox attempt to solve throwing problem. “I’ve never run from it,” he said.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): With a new grip on his curve, even Kyle Hendricks can’t contain his excitement. “...this spike grip isn’t a cure-all, but if you can throw it and get it out to where it needs to be, it does have tighter spin,” Jim Hickey said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Yu Darvish to make Cubs debut Tuesday vs. LA. “His last workout the day he wasn’t feeling well was outstanding,” Maddon said. “I know he wants to get out there and get it running. First time out, just go out and pitch and play and see what happens.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): New Cubs pitcher Darvish to debut Tuesday against former team. “Darvish won’t bat on Tuesday, but he should throw for two or three innings.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): As Darvish debuts for Cubs, unsigned Jake Arrieta faces likely delayed season. “The six weeks [of spring training] is really important, especially for the pitcher,” Maddon said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Spin Doctor: Changing arm slot could help Tyler Chatwood max out elite RPMs. “Throwing over the top might be the key to him unlocking his potential, but it might also be dangerous.”
  • Jay Cohen (AP via News and Observer): Cubs hoping Justin Wilson can regain his form. “Just want to feel and do what I did before I came over,” Wilson said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Pedro Strop’s slow start with calf injury puts him right on time for Cubs’ plan. “I only need three innings [in games],” he said. “Maybe four.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Cubs enjoying depth behind plate, starting with Willson Contreras. The Cubs are so deep that they will have the luxury of allowing prospect Victor Caratini to develop further at Class AAA Iowa while creating a spot for veteran Chris Gimenez.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Anthony Rizzo remains the heart & soul of the Chicago Cubs. He’s got it all.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Ben Zobrist (back) slated for spring debut Tuesday. “I’m excited to get back out there,” Zobrist said.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kris Bryant not bothered by criticism of his 2017 run production. “I thought I had a great year,” he said. “I don’t care what people think, honestly.”
  • Jay Cohen (AP via Daily Herald {$}): Kyle Schwarber noticing difference after offseason workouts. “When I watch him in the drills, like first to third, that looks different,” Maddon said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): More mature Schwarber has gained more than he’s lost since last season. “Just trying to do too much,” Schwarber said.
  • Darius Austin (Wrigleyville: Baseball Prospectus): The two Albert Almoras. “...the disparity in plate discipline suggests that Almora is actually taking a different approach when he comes off the bench.”
  • Vinnie Duber (NBC Sports Chicago*): After two years of struggling at the plate, what does 2018 hold for Jason Heyward? “If I’m coming in with higher expectations, then I feel like I’ve been tripping (for the past couple years),” Heyward said.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Unprecedented regression leaves Jason Heyward, Cubs in a precarious position. “...timing, confidence and comfort need to come together to allow Heyward to thrive.”

Food for thought:

  • Emily Conover (Science News): Google moves toward quantum supremacy with 72-qubit computer. What’s a qubit?
  • Michael Price (Science): Synesthesia’s mysterious ‘mingling of the senses’ may result from hyperconnected neurons. “It’s very exciting,” says Romke Rouw, a cognitive psychologist who studies synesthesia at the University of Amsterdam.

Thanks for reading.