Garza has a rough outing
While the Cubs starters have been impressive in their short outings for far this spring, Matt Garza ran into trouble in the second and had to be pulled after walking in a run or two. He's mostly just working on his fastball and changeup, and batters were sitting on it. He told Muskat:
I’ve been trying to keep myself on a strict program with just fastballs and changeups. It’s tough especially with hitters going up there ready to hack and looking for fastballs. I got myself in trouble more than anything. That’s what it was. It’s not anything I’m too concerned about. Just a bad day and I’ll get ready for the next one.
Concepcion signing officially official
The Cubs officially signed Cuban League rookie of the year Gerardo Concepcion to a 5/6 contract. $3m is a signing bonus, and the other $3m will be spread out over the course of the deal. Kevin Goldstein says that he'd rank Concepcion ninth in the Cubs system (8th in his published list, which was before the Cubs acquired Rizzo).
Opening day tickets
Hardball times mini-preview of the 2012 Cubs
Here's Hardball Times copy editor Joe Distelheim's article. I wish HBT would go back to having Harry do these. It's one thing to criticize how the Cubs got to the point where they are now (and there are certainly plenty of things to criticize). But it looks like this one got away from the author, who took many opportunities to get slams in on many former Cubs players, most notably Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome, and even broke out Brenly's god-awful stat-gathering quote.
Is there a Cubs game today?
The Cubs play the Reds at 3:05 PM CT today. Pat and Zonk have the call on WGN radio. Paul Maholm makes his Cubs debut today, and Jeff Samardzija will also get some innings in today to build on his impressive start to the Cactus League.
CF Marlon Byrd
3B Ian Stewart
1B Bryan LaHair
SS Junior Lake
Pitching staff speculation of the day
Casey Coleman "closed out" yesterday's game, leading to some questions about whether he might get a bullpen role this year. He's developed a new slider that's a "strikeout pitch", which is something his strikeout rate could certainly use. If by some crazy twist of fate Samardzija makes the rotation (or at least stays a starter) Coleman might get his spot. Someone else who could get bullpenned, Samardzija or no, is Randy Wells. IIRC Paul Sullivan was beating that drum during yesterday's broadcast. I think that Wells is still the best of the rotation candidates after Maholm, and take last year's numbers with a Milton Waddams sized grain of salt due to being rushed back from injury. But there isn't a huge difference between any of those guys vying for the spots.
Bunt tournament news
Other tournament news
I've set up an Obstructed View NCAA Bracket Group over on ESPN. Winner gets a free 1-week subscription to the blog.
The Cubs rotation, per Chris Bosio
Good work by RC. We just need GBTS to put Alvin in the background somewhere.