It was another gloomy, rainy day in the Valley of the Sun Wednesday. I can’t remember a Spring Training season where there was this much bad weather in the Phoenix area.
The Cubs, however, ignored the poor conditions, got home runs from Cody Bellinger, Edwin Rios and Christopher Morel, and defeated the Athletics 4-2 at the Cubs’ old spring park, HoHoKam Stadium.
Bellinger’s home run came in the first inning [VIDEO].
The A’s tied the game with a run off Rowan Wick in the fourth. Not that spring numbers should decide a roster spot or not, but Wick has looked shakier than some other veteran relievers and if there’s a reliever not on the 40-man roster who the team thinks should be on the Opening Day roster, Wick might be odd-man-out.
The Cubs got some good defense from Ben DeLuzio with this sliding catch that ended the fifth inning [VIDEO].
DeLuzio isn’t going to make the Opening Day roster. He’ll probably be one of the outfielders at Triple-A Iowa who could be called up in case of injury. It’s also worth noting that had DeLuzio not made that diving catch, Bellinger likely would have caught that ball. Bellinger also made a running catch of a ball that most center fielders would not have caught up to. He takes such good routes to balls and has sneaky speed — you can see why he’s a Gold Glove winner.
Edwin Rios homered with a runner on in the sixth to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead [VIDEO].
No doubt, Rios can hit. There doesn’t seem room for him on the Opening Day roster, though, as I think Patrick Wisdom should be the third baseman and there’s not really another spot for Rios. Rios does have options remaining, so he, like DeLuzio, should wind up at Iowa to start the season.
The Cubs’ final run of the afternoon also came on a solo home run. Christopher Morel’s homer was his second in as many days [VIDEO].
After a very slow start this spring, Morel is batting .276/.344/.724 (8-for-29) with four home runs over his 13 games. That might not be enough for him to make the Opening Day roster, but you know he has that talent and he’ll certainly play many games for the major-league team this year.
The Cubs got generally good pitching work in this game, with nine relievers each throwing one inning. They allowed eight hits, two runs and two walks with seven strikeouts. They were also helped out defensively with five double plays. Julian Merryweather bolstered his argument for the Opening Day roster with a pair of strikeouts in his inning of work.
The Cubs return to Sloan Park Thursday afternoon to face the Diamondbacks. Hayden Wesneski will start for the Cubs and Ryne Nelson gets the start for Arizona. Game time is again 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.