The day got off to a bettar than decent start with Soriano blasting his third homerun of the spring season, and Chris Volstad working three spotless innings. Kerry Wood also made his spring debut and was solid, that was about the extent of the good portion of the day as the wheels fell off shortly there after. Carlops Marmol was touched up, big time. He faced seven hitters on the day, five of them reached base, and four of them scored. Something positive or negative that can be taken away from that depending on how you look at it was Marmol only hit one batter and walked no one. He gave up four hits including a three run blast to rising prospect Dustin Ackley, one outing is not cause for concern, but it is a shock to the system for sure.
A lot has been made about the Cubs re-dedication, or should I say dedication to the defensive side of the game this Spring, but is it just all talk? I know it’s early, but the numbers suggest that maybe the Cubs are on to something. Through three spring training games last year the Cubs committed a whopping nine errors, this year, one. The typical excuse used by many, including the coaching staff last year was that it was early, and mistakes will happen. Well, maybe that’s why that coaching staff, well most of it, is now unemployed. Ballplayers are ballplayers, and typically most of them learn the fundamentals at a very early age, that doesn’t mean that those players shouldn’t continue to practice them. Half the battle with defense is a players desire to actually field a ball the correct way, for years Alfonso Soriano was allowed to hop when making catches. Aramis Ramirez was allowed to ole balls left and right, and there was no consequence, more importantly it never changed, those days are over.
The Cubs don’t want to wait until March 4th, and their first Spring Training game against the Athletics, so they are starting early. To finish off this week the Cubs will battle eachother in a set of intrasquad games. The games will take place on Friday and Saturday leading up to Sunday’s spring training opener. The intrasquad games with be open to the public (grandstand seating only) and will be free of charge. After 12 days of drills, workouts, and bunt tournaments, I’m sure the players and coaches are just itching to get started, and see what they have in real game situations.
Tom Ricketts has been a busy man. Late last week Ricketts was in the Dominican Republic to unveil plans for a brand new, one of kind facility. The 50 acre facility will be located in the town of La Gina, which is just outside of Santo Domingo, and very close to the airport. Just a few of the luxuries that Dominican ball players will have are a total of four fields, one of which being artificial turf. The academy will also be home to four batting cages, eight bullpens, a weight room, and two locker rooms. Rumor has it that the facility will also have a video room, which is a tremendous tool for not only scouting these players, but allowing this players to learn like major league ballplayers learn. Another solid feature of the academy is that it is almost laid out like a college. There is a cafeteria, a dormatory, meeting/class rooms, and has the capabilities to house 80 members including staff and players.