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Cub Tracks trims the fat

Escaping without damage, trying to hurt the ball, and other bullets

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Mike Zagurski!
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s today’s Cubs News and Notes. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): For Cubs manager Joe Maddon, this looks like a World Series-or-bust season. “Theo Epstein left no doubt: This season is all about the Cubs facing the music.”
  • Jordan Bastian (*): Maddon still creating loose atmosphere for Cubs. “...just because Maddon has slightly adjusted his style doesn’t mean Cubs camp has become a no-fun zone.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Language of Cubs ‘pitch lab’ all geek to some, but tech wave just beginning. “It’s so off limits that even the Cubs’ oft-embedded media favorites aren’t allowed to view the inner workings.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic): What can young pitchers learn from watching Kyle Hendricks? “Every day, I try to ask something from Kyle: ‘What are you looking for in this hitter? How do you approach scouting reports?’” says Duncan Robinson.
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Despite promising numbers, Tyler Chatwood flunks eye test. “He only escaped without damage because he was facing prospects that were a little overzealous as they tried to make names for themselves.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Pitching prospect Dakota Mekkes knows his time is coming with Cubs. “When the time comes, the time comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I can’t really control it too much other than what I do on the field,” he said.
  • Greg Huss (Cubs Insider): Lanky lefty Brailyn Marquez leads charge of high-upside Cubs arms. “...after philosophical shifts in drafting and developing pitchers, the system is flooded with arms that should eventually reach Wrigley.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Cubs reportedly still looking for catching depth. “ can’t tell me you wouldn’t feel comforted by the presence of one of those defense-first, excellent-framing veteran types.” Brendan Miller adds frame.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): More power to him: Mark Zagunis showing new look to Cubs staff this spring. “He’s trying to hurt the ball,” Maddon said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Kyle Schwarber quietly makes left field his own. “When you tell Kyle he can’t do something, that might be the best motivation you could possibly give to him,” Maddon said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Will Albert Almora Jr. make more starts in center for Chicago Cubs this season? “It’s still early, but he’s doing all he can in Cactus League play to state his case.”
  • Chicago Tribune* {$}): ‘It would be awesome’: 2020 trip to London appeals to the Cubs. “It would be awesome, a cool trip to go over there,” slugger Kris Bryant said. “I hope it’s us.”
  • Miriam de Nunzio (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Cubs’ World Series ‘Miracle’ stage musical poised for its opening day. “The play tells the story of the fictional Delaneys, a blue-collar North Side Chicago family whose lives have been intrinsically linked to their beloved Cubs for generations.” Chris Jones (Tribune) adds on.

Cubs birthdays: George Moolic, Doc Curley, George Maisel, Bud Tinning, Johnny Callison, Horacio Pina.

Food for thought: