Cubs

Cubs will take another look at Cashner vs. Silva

Cubs will take another look at Cashner vs. Silva

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted 5:31 p.m. Updated 6:58 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Cashner hasnt done anything to make the Cubs second-guess their decision to commit to him as a starter. But he also hasnt done enough to claim the fifth spot in the rotation just yet.

Cashner has firm grip on rotation spot

At least thats what it sounded like after manager Mike Quade emerged from Tuesdays strategy session at HoHoKam Park. No hard news came out of the meeting between Quade, his coaches, general manager Jim Hendry and assistant general manager Randy Bush.

WATCH: Riggins on the rotation race

But the Cubs will take another look at Carlos Silva, who has seemed lost this spring but will start again Wednesday against the Oakland As in Mesa. Publicly, Silva stays in the picture.

I never count anybody out, Quade said. Im anxious to see him pitch tomorrow. There are still some tough decisions. Nothings definitive. I have a lot to sleep on andor not sleep on tonight regarding the pitching.

Expect another round of cuts on Thursday, if not sooner, and firm rotation answers should come by the weekend. Randy Wells looks like a lock as the No. 4 starter, but no one else has really pushed Cashner.

Silva hasnt had a good feel for his pitches and has struggled with his confidence. Hes given up 26 runs 20 earned on 29 hits in 11 13 innings.

Todd Wellemeyer has been slowed by a hip injury that will make it difficult for him to break camp with the club. Braden Loopers ERA shot up to 10.97 after allowing eight runs in two innings his last time out.

No one has been good from start to finish, Quade said. No one battling for that spot has been consistent that I will say. And that will worry me when the fifth spot in the rotation has not been consistent in May or June.

Quade will meet with Hendry and Bush again on Wednesday morning, though the manager pointed out that theyre already in agreement on most of the decisions. One primary factor is how Quades going to run a game.

Quade said the idea of carrying four left-handers relievers Sean Marshall, John Grabow, James Russell and Scott Maine isnt off the table yet. But any bullpen plan is premised upon how many innings the Cubs can expect out of their starters, and how they might incorporate a long man.

So far Cashner hasnt exceeded four innings. He threw almost 60 pitches before Mondays start was washed away by rain. Given his age and pedigree, the 24-year-old first-round pick is still the one with the most upside potential.

Look, the kids a work in progress, Quade said. It would be great for him to get through five innings. I would like to see him make 80 or 85 pitches.

Silvas situation is complicated by the 13.5 million hes guaranteed through this seasons salary and a 2012 buyout. Hell get another shot to make an impression.

None of these decisions (are) easy, Quade said. Well take everything into account and try to make the best decision that we can. Sometimes guys make it easier for you, and sometimes they dont.

Etc.

Opening Day starter Ryan Dempster stretched out to six innings and allowed one run on six hits in Tuesdays 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. My body feels good and my pitches feel good, said Dempster, who lowered his spring ERA to 1.88. John Grabow submitted his third consecutive scoreless inning out of the bullpen. Jeff Samardzija (6.23 ERA) gave up the winning run in the 10th inning. Aramis Ramirez continues to feel sick and monitor a high fever, but the third baseman took batting practice and hopes to play Wednesday. Carlos Zambrano will pitch Wednesday in a minor-league game.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote put his sweet, sweet swing to special use on Tuesday.

Prior to the Cubs’ Cactus League game vs. the Rockies, a couple of Cubs fans asked Bote to partake in their gender reveal. The duo brought a powder-infused baseball, asking Bote to take a hack to reveal whether they’re having a boy or girl.

The father-to-be tossed the ball to Bote, who smashed it open to unleash a pink cloud of powder — signifying the couple will have a girl. The 26-year-old infielder — who has two daughters himself — threw his arms in the air to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about gender reveals, you’ve gotta love the uniqueness of this one and Bote partaking in the special moment. Here’s to a healthy life for the baby! 

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Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start in spring training

Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start in spring training

The Cubs have only played three spring training games, and it’s dangerous to use spring results to predict regular season successes and failures. Still, it’s okay to acknowledge Albert Almora Jr.’s hot start in camp.

In two games, Almora is 4-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, four RBIs and four runs scored. That line is essentially equivalent to a single game in the regular season and could be turned upside down by the end of the week. But it’s a start for the 25-year-old who has struggled immensely at the plate for the last season and a half.

In his last 177 games (dating back to the second half of 2018), Almora holds a .235/.270/.347 slash line. The advanced stats paint an uglier picture: 58 wRC+, .261 wOBA and 52.2 percent groundball rate.

Last season was the most challenging of Almora’s young career. He hit .236/.271/.381 in 130 games with a 64 wRC+, .271 wOBA, -0.7 fWAR (all career worsts). On top of that, he was involved in a heartbreaking moment early in the season; an Almora foul ball struck a young girl at Minute Maid Park during a Cubs-Astros game in May.

Almora refused to blame his 2019 offensive woes on that incident, though it obviously played a part. He did admit that he was in a bad place mentally and used this winter to decompress. Almora also used it to make some adjustments to his swing and the changes are clear as day:

Pre-2020:

2020:

As MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes, Almora is now more upright in the box and his stance is more closed. His leg kick is less defined and he’s rotating his front leg far less than previous seasons. In short, he’s more direct to his swing and has more time to react in the box because he cut out a lot of his pre-swing movements.

RELATED: David Ross is wasting no time with Cubs' rotation competition

Almora said Monday he’s far from where he wants to be, pointing out the MLB season is a 200-day marathon. It’s too early to tell whether his simplified approach leads to sustainable success.

Small sample size be damned, Almora’s made noticeable adjustments. That’s the first step in his mission to get back on track offensively.

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