Entries Tagged as 'Spring Training'

Does Patton have shot in Cubs’ bullpen?

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David Patton, the Cubs’ Rule V pick this year is going to give it his best shot.  And according to Lou Piniella, he’s “in the picture”. 

While the Cubs’ bullpen is crowded, that’s not to say it couldn’t use a little improvement.  But is Mr Patton the answer?  The Bleacher Report seems to think so calling Patton “a gem”. Others may be a little more skeptical. 

Here are his minor league numbers.

The Cubs acquired him from the Reds but he originally hails from the Colorado system.  His farm numbers looks ok.  He has high strikeout rate but his control isn’t anything to write home about.  But hopefully that would come in time.

Much is being made in the media of his spring numbers this year.   One run allowed in 7 2/3 innings with 9 strikeouts.  Impressive but I don’t need to remind any baseball fan of falling for stats within small sample sizes. 

We’ll know in a couple what the future holds for David Patton.  He has a long row to hoe if he has a shot in the Cubs’ bullpen.  But the way he’s pitching now, this is his chance.

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Hoff’s Granny

Al from Bleed Cubbie Blue got a great photo of Micah Hoffpauir’s grand slam at HoHoKam on the first day of spring training. 

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Looking back: Cubs at Catalina Island

Apparently, this was a Jeopardy question a couple days back.  I missed it, it was brought to my attention by a colleague and I just had to look it up.  I’m glad I did because it’s a great story and probably something I should have known.

A piece of Cubs history I was not familiar with as it was before my time, I learned the Cubs for more than 30 years (1921-1951) spent their spring training at Catalina Island. 

Springtrainingmagazine.com has an excellent article on the subject of Cubs’ history of spring training at Catalina Island.  It was actually first published in 1997 with contributions from those who actually live on Catalina Island. 

When the Cubs first stepped off the steamer onto the Avalon wharf in 1921, they were struck by the rugged beauty of the place. Over the years they got to know it intimately, because Cubs managers liked to use the rough terrain and mountain trails for conditioning. The island is home to mountain goats, and winter-softened Cubbies often suffered long workouts hiking along goat paths. Third baseman Randy Jackson complained of shin splints, and Hall of Fame catcher Gabby Hartnett anguished, “I hope they’ve got banked turns in the National League infields, because one of my legs is shorter than the other from trying to navigate those damn hills.”

 

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The Cubs left Catalina Island in 1952 after several years of bad weather including snow in 1951.  Philip K Wrigley had contacts in Arizona and moved to Mesa where they are today.

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Japanese team to play in spring training in 2010?

Interesting, it’s being proposed that a Japanese team play 15 games during spring training in 2010. 

The team would play in Tucson and would replace the White Sox who have relocated to the Phoenix area. 

Tucson tourism officials are behind the proposal but say the MLB is “open” to the idea and the Diamondbacks and Rockies have been receptive to the concept. 

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Baseball Zealot Radio gets a Spring Training update from Teddy Ballgame

grapefruit12 Tedd Mallasch (aka Teddy Ballgame) is down in Florida and enjoying some Grapefruit League action.  He called up to give us an update on what’s happening down there.

If you haven’t already, read some of Teddy’s articles he written from Florida.  He’s posted to the blog pretty much daily since he went down there.

As always, it was a pleasure to talk to Teddy.  Hopefully, it won’t be the last time as he is headed to Arizona to see some Cactus League games later this month.

Enjoy!

 

Download Episode 41 Listen to the show via iTunes!
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SAVERY SMOKED

I know it’s only spring training, and only the 2nd game at that, but it was disappointing to watch the Buccos tee off on former Rice Ace Joe Savery. The temperature was the same today as yesterday, 53 degrees, but today the sun was shining, and there was no gusting wind. Still my seat behind home plate was empty as I stationed myself down the leftfield line. Florida oranges floating in Blue Moon beer went down too easily. When the young lefty took the hill, I strolled behind the dish to get a better look. I almost had to turn away from what I was seeing. Savery fell behind Bucco hitters, trying to be too fine, then Josh Wilson lined a two run single up the middle, and then Nate McLouth knocked a three run blast over the rightfield wall, turning a 5-1 lead into a 6-5 deficit.

Before this collapse it was all good for the Phils. The Big Guy Ryan Howard almost reached the highway with his monster shot deep to right, still it wasn’t as far as his preseason drive over the hitting back drop in center last year. Pirate Adam LaRoche also went yard in the ballgame. Speaking of homers, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Michael Jack Schmidt was in the house for the second straight day, coaching firstbase, he’ll be a roving instructor this year for Philadelphia. I went to the souvenir stand to purchase a Schmidty tee shirt, but was told there were none for sale. Am I nuts or am I the only one who knows great player’s jerseys from all franchises would sell like hotcakes? A couple of years ago I was in Pittsburgh at PNC where I could purchase a Pokey Reese tee shirt, but could not buy a Clemente or Stargell, something wrong with this picture.

After watching baseball the last couple of days, while hearing of more snow in Chicago, I booked a last minute trip to watch some Cactus League baseball. I’d originally booked this trip way back when, cancelled, and then rebooked for about $600 more. Still I’m very much looking forward to hooking up with DonS to watch some pre-Easter baseball out west, but still have five more Florida games to see. Life is good.

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Last spring in Tucson for the White Sox?

According to this Tucson Citizen report, the Chicago White Sox are attempting to move their spring training grounds.  They have have completed a deal with the Dodgers to share a sports complex in Glendale, Arizona.  The Sox hope they can move into the stadium,  in 2009.

There’s one problem.  They need to get out of their current contract with Pima County which has them at Tucson Electric Park till 2012.  To do that, they’ll need to find a replacement team to play there. 

So for the time being, it’s business as usual and the company line is that they are happy residents of Tucson.  So says White Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert:

“Nothing has changed.  We have every intention to honor our commitment in Tucson until 2012 unless we find an acceptable team or a solution.”

For the time being, ground has been broken on the new 12,000 seat facility in Glendale.  The Dodgers will be there for sure in 2009 (after 60 springs at Vero Beach). 

Time will tell when the Sox will join them. 

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CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/21 Day & Night

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Nick Swisher

3/21 Day: Got to Tempe Diablo Stadium early to see the Angels host the Diamondbacks. It was gonna be another scorcher with temps in the mid 90s, seemed hotter in the sun (which was where our seats were). Not much veggie fare, washed down some nachos with a couple of beers, heavily tipped at concession stand as tips were going to Shriners Hospital. Met a real estate agent from LA who said he’d set me up with tix right by the Dodger dugout if I ever came out to Chavez Ravine. Ran into Bernie, an Angels fan we sat by two years ago. Hard to tell who was whom as both teams wore red & white uniforms. The Halos had this one under control from the outset, besting the Snakes 8-3. Darren Oliver got a standing ovation when he entered the game, from DonS. Alberto Callaspo & Conor Jackson each had three hits for Arizona. The paramedics rushed to our section, when a foul ball hit off a little girl’s knee. Angels catcher Jose Molina was 3 for 3, including a bunt single & a stolen base. LA’s thirdsacker Chone Figgins suffered a broken finger.

3/21 Night: It was a real rush job getting to Surprise from Tempe in rush hour, with the KC night game starting at 6:05 PM. Grabbed a Rubio’s burrito just as Oakland DH Mike Piazza launched a first inning blast, putting the A’s up 1-0, which was an indication of things to come. In the 3rd inning Oakland hit back-to-back-to-back jacks, by Nick Swisher, Mark Ellis, & Dan Johnson on three consecutive pitches, all off Royals starter Brian Bannister. Adam Melhuse followed with a 1st pitch single, I said, “He should be farmed out for failing to hit a home run”. After three innings it was a TD apiece. The Royals left Joe Blanton off the hook in the 2nd, when Ryan Shealy was thrown out at third on a steal attempt & Angel Berroa was picked off first. My old White Sox buddy Ross Gload was 3 for 4, raising his spring average to .459, while future superstar Alex Gordon ripped two doubles in four times to the plate, lifting his average to .390. The A’s got to Cody Ross for two 9th inning runs, tagging him with the 11-10 loss. Surprise is the best park in Arizona, while Clearwater is the best in Florida.

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CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/20 Day & Night

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Manny Alexander

3/20 Day: Before we even got our fannies into our seats the White Sox took a 1-0 lead off Rich Harden & the Oakland A’s, Pablo Ozuna got a leadoff double and scored on a two out base hit by Jermaine Dye. With Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (KevinS has an in with the Sox) on the bump for the Sox I could taste the dollar coming my way from DonS via our friendly wager on who would surrender more runs, Harden or Haeger. But when Uncle Lou Merloni dropped a three run bomb on an un-knuckleball my dillusions of grandeur vanished. Sox dropped this one, 5-3, Josh Fields got two backward K’s, one with two on & two out to end the game.

3/20 Night: It was Manny Alexander in Peoria, AZ. After somebody who sounded alot like Teddy Ballgame yelled out, “Retire ya bum!” Manny lined an RBI extra inning two out single to mercifully end it, it was gonna end after 10 innings no matter what. Justin Germano, SD’s 2002 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Phillies, was the winning pitcher for the Padres. The Angels got a triple play against the Padres in the very first inning when Josh Bard swung & missed strike three, Todd Walker who was on 1st stopped running & was tagged out, and Brian Giles who was on 3rd strayed just far enough to be tagged out. DonS stated, “We eat teams that run the bases like that alive!”, but it wasn’t to be. Although Royce Ring of SD allowed 4 hits & walked in a run in 1/3 of an inning, which put the Halos up 6-3 after 5 1/2. Ervin Santana sat in the dugout far too long, and spit out the lead, surrendering 4 in the bottom of the sixth to put the Padres up a run. Alexander made an error, which woke up the fat guy in the stands, who bellowed, the error produced an unearned run off Trevor Hoffman, which setup Manny’s heroics, 8-7 SD. I pick both teams to win their divisions in 2007.

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CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/18 & 3/19

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3/18: Saw the White Sox play the Padres in Peoria, AZ.
Peoria is alot farther than I’d remembered it being
from Phoenix, about 40 minutes. Got to the game with
tailgating time to spare before the game started. 95
degrees, very hot, but who’s complaining, with beer in
the house. John Danks is competing with Gavin Floyd
for the 5th spot in the Sox rotation, Danks threw
better, but Floyd put up the better numbers. Adrian
Gonzalez, a lefty hitter, bombed one 460 to center off
the southpaw Danks. And leftfielder(?) Russell
Branyan hit an opposite field drive to left, two
(charged) errors on him. Boomer Wells got boomered by
the Southsiders to the tune of seven runs in three
innings, they weren’t saying Boomer. Paul Konerko
nailed one to left and Ryan Sweeney rode one out to
right, late in the game. Good Guys two TD’s, SD 7.

3/19: Went to see the Cubbies do battle against the
Brewers in Maryvale (Maryvale – see generic, no
frills, new ballpark, in bad part of Phoenix). The
beers were going down easy before the game. Wanted to
see three kids and saw all three, Ryan Braun, Felix
Pie, & Jake Fox. If I were the Cubs (thank God I’m
not) I’d play Pie in CF, Alfonso Soriano in LF, &
Jones in right. Alfonso was a no show, with Felix in
RF & Jacque in center, Murton was in left. There were
some 16 year old bikini clad girls hooting it up for
Matt, his face turned as red as his hair. Braun
fouled off three 0-2 pitches before getting all of a
three run bomb to center. Jake Fox (one of at least
six Cub catchers) was called out when an 0-2 pitch
crossed the plate. Final score 11-7 Cubbies over the
Brew Crew.

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