Another day, another big home run from Alfonso Soriano, hopefully he can bottle this magic and take it North with him next week. Soriano has been on fire at the plate, hitting six home runs on the spring, he’s clearly motivated, and a motivated Soriano can be a dangerous one for the rest of the National League.
The Cubs beat the White Sox today 5-1. The pitching was the difference as the Cubs staff only surrendered four hits today. Starting pitcher Travis Wood pitched well and so did Randy Wells who induced a bases loaded double play to Paul Konerko to end the 3rd. Also in relief today was Lopez, Rhee, and Castillo. The Cubs offense was powered by Edgar Gonzalez, Steve Clevenger, and Marlon Byrd who all hit their first homers of the spring. Soriano stayed hot leading the game off with a double later scoring on a Darwin Barney base hit. It is always nice to beat the Chicago White Sox whether it is spring training or not.
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With games rapidly approaching, Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have set the first three spots in the rotation to open up the Spring
schedule this weekend. Rodrigo Lopez will get things started, he will be followed by Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza. Dale Sveum was quick to caution fans trying to read too much into Dempster being ahead of Garza, saying that they will determine the rotation to start the season sometime in the middle of spring training. Lopez gets the first crack to prove he belongs at the back end of the Cubs rotation. Other competitors for the four/five spots in the rotation per Sveum are Randy Wells, Travis Wood, and Chris Volstad. It looks more and more like it will be something along the lines of Garza, Dempster and Maholm to head the rotation, but anything can and usually does happen in the Spring.
After an off season full of excitement, and building, the 2012 Cubs baseball season is kicking off today in Mesa Arizona. Pitchers and catchers are due to report today, and many have showed up early. On Friday, Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez each threw off the mound, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo worked with some players in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were among those practicing on the half field. The most telling quotes coming out of Mesa might have been from Marlon Byrd via (Carrie Muskat)
Another sign that spring training is right around the corner, aside from the 50 degree temperatures in Chicago today, is that the Cubs have announced the twenty one non roster players that will be invited to spring training. Headlining that list is 23 year old outfield prospect Brett Jackson. While none of these players will necessarily break camp with the Cubs (nine have previous MLB experience) they will all have the same opportunity to do so during spring training. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs new staff on, and off the field evaluates the organization’s time in Arizona.