Count Down to P & C

We are only a matter of hours away from the official report date for Cubs pitchers and catchers tomorrow morning. The Chicago media have arrived here in Mesa over the past day or two and are getting up to speed on what has been going on with some of the players who have been here. Readers here knew that Matt Garza has been working out for a while in Mesa; in fact you could have seen exclusive photos of Garza working at Fitch on our BOS – Wrigleyville West facebook page a week and a half ago. More coverage of the Cubs is a good thing, but I’ll miss being the only media type (I use that description very loosely) at Fitch.

A happy Kerry at Fitch

With all the new faces on the Cubs roster it was great to see the veteran fan favorite Kerry Wood at Fitch this morning. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything but it appeared that Kerry had a few extra pounds around the mid-section. I know from experience that it’s easier to gain a few pounds there when you’re 34 years old instead of 24. Hard to believe it’s been nearly 14 years since Kid K blazed onto the scene.  Speaking of pounds, I noticed that Steve Clevenger has gotten stronger and put on some muscle. During the off-season I go on the carnival circuit traveling the back roads of America guessing the weight of patrons for $5, this comes in handy when the baseball season starts. Clevenger is competing for the back-up catcher job now that Koyie Hill is gone. He’s listed at 195 lbs. on the Cubs roster but I knew that wasn’t accurate so I asked Steve, he said he’s at 206 lbs.

Catcher Steve Clevenger does some running today

Clevenger (who will turn 26 on opening day) hit .319 last season between Tennessee and Iowa. In his move up to Triple-A he hit a scorching .407 with an OBP of .454 for the I-Cubs, it should be noted he only had 97 plate appearances there. His hot hitting led to a late season call up by the Cubs where he played in two games. Clevenger is a former shortstop who is a good athlete and has thrown out 28 percent of base stealers while in the minors. For comparison Geovany Soto threw out 29 percent while in the minor leagues. Clevenger is a hard worker who has grown into the position; he will be competing against Welington Castillo, and Jason Jaramillo for the back-up spot.

Dave Sappelt getting ready to run

Another player who looks different than the roster size he is listed at is Dave Sappelt, the new outfielder brought over from the Reds in the Sean Marshall trade. Sappelt is on the Cubs roster at 5’9″ 195 lbs.  I don’t know if he lost weight from last season but I would guess him at 5’8″ and about 185, both those numbers may be a bit generous. Sappelt has been here working at Fitch and is the kind of player the new Cubs management is looking for; 25 years old, plays good defense, and doesn’t strike out often. There will be a lot of competition in the outfield this spring, it should be one of the more interesting positions to watch over the next seven weeks.

The BOS-BCS Awards for the best Cubs websites and blogs are currently being studied by an esteemed panel, (ok ‘esteemed’ may be pushing it but they are a panel). If they can’t come to any consensus on the winners we may have to submit briefs to Bud Selig for a final decision. The Ryno Award for Fan Favorite will be ready for your voting the beginning of next week and our Awards Show will be on the 29th.

Here are some of my pics from today ~
Wood
Marlon Byrd has lost 20 lbs. Rudy Jaramillo watches
David DeJesus
Byrd
Wood
Tim

Tim

Tim Sheridan is a Cubs fanatic who also happens to be the Cubs spring training public address announcer at Sloan Stadium and your tour guide here at boysofspring.com.
Tim

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