MESA, Arizona — This has been a busy week trying to get ready for Saturday’s spring opener against the Giants, plus the weather has been lousy much of this week, with some Cubs workouts taking place indoors.
Friday, though, dawned sunny, though a bit cool (morning temps in the upper 50s, and with little or no humidity that feels colder than upper 50s would in Chicago), and so I headed down to the Sloan Park complex to see some Cubs workouts.
The team used to post the workout schedule on a printout at the complex, but now they have helpfully put all that information online at sloanpark.com. That’s a useful link for you to bookmark, as they update it frequently (including earlier in the week to note that outdoor workouts had been cancelled) and you can refer to it if you’re planning on being in Mesa in the early parts of Spring Training.
What I saw Friday morning were pitcher and infielder fielding drills and then several of the catchers taking batting practice. Here are a couple of short videos of the fielding practice on Field 3 — you can see the field layout in the link above.
The pitcher fielding practice (you’ll sometimes see it referred to as “PFP”) seems monotonous, but the point is to give the pitchers muscle memory when it comes to fielding comebackers, covering first base, etc. You’ll probably see a few plays during the season when you’ll think, after watching that video, “That’s why they do PFP.”
The other video is interesting because you’ll hear the coach hitting ground balls (and please, ID him if you can, I couldn’t) yelling out on-base and out situations so that the fielders react in the proper way depending on the situation. Again, this is trying to develop muscle memory. They’ll continue to do these drills sometimes even on game days, for players who aren’t starting. Just because you don’t see a player in the actual Spring Training game, it doesn’t mean he’s not working that day. Most of the Cubs will at least take some BP when they’re not playing, and the only true off days are the team off days on March 13 and 20.
Then it was over to Field 6 to watch catchers take BP. Here are short videos of four of the catchers in camp taking swings. Miguel Amaya looks pretty impressive.
Also, have a look at this video of Kyle Hendricks from Jordan Bastian. I continue to maintain he’ll come back and have at least a decent season in 2023.
Kyle Hendricks threw a light “touch and feel” bullpen session this morning. First look at his altered arm path. pic.twitter.com/L8wxEeC8cD— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 24, 2023
The Cubs will take the field for their first practice game tomorrow, Saturday, February 25 at Sloan Park at 2:05 p.m. CT. The Giants provide the opposition. Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start for the Cubs, probably sent out there so he can begin to ramp up for the World Baseball Classic. Adrian Sampson is expected to piggyback with Stroman.
Ready for some baseball?