Cubs Close Cactus League with 3 Straight W’s

Castro slams home run today

The Cubs closed their Cactus League spring training season with a 5-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers today at Hohokam Stadium in front of 5,801 fans. The Cubs started the game with most of what will be the opening day starters (minus Bryan LaHair), but after the first couple innings quickly emptied the bench, and beyond. The Brewers, who play the Diamondbacks tonight at Chase Field, had almost none of their regulars in the starting lineup. That made things interesting for this P.A. Announcer, more on that later.

The Cubs starters were able to score 4 runs in the first two innings off Brewers minor league starting pitcher Kyle Heckathorn. That was all they would need as Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood was solid, giving up only 1 run in six innings. Wood who’s set to be in the rotation at Triple-A Iowa had his best outing of the spring. The Cubs runs came courtesy of a Starlin Castro 2-run homer which took off like a rocket into space. Castro’s clout hit the top of the scoreboard. Two more runs came courtesy of consecutive hits by Reed Johnson, Joe Mather (a double) and Darwin Barney. Alfredo Amezaga, taking over for Castro at short, hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. Blake DeWitt filled in once again for Bryan LaHair at first base. Hopefully this is just the team playing it safe, so that LaHair is ready on Thursday, after recovering from a a minor back issue. Darwin Barney and Jeff Baker each had a stolen base today, I really like to see the Cubs running like they have this spring.

Normally before the game I’ll go over to the visiting Media Relations person to get the proper pronunciations, however today the Brewers person was nowhere to be seen. So I launched into the starting lineups anyway, about half way through I noticed someone sit down beside me. It was the Brewers Media Relations guy. He starts telling me (between name announcements) that Khris Davis, who is in the lineup as the left fielder, is now the DH. And that the new left fielder is number 45 Lee Haydel, one of three Brewers wearing the number 45 jersey at Hohokam today. Obviously this makes things a little more difficult, but luckily those two players were batting sixth and ninth and I hadn’t gotten that far in the lineups. So it’s likely that nobody in the stands knew this was happening as I was speaking.

Javier Baez today in Cubs pinstripes

Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants stuff tends to happen in a game like today where all the regulars are getting ready to leave town. So for the Cubs, we had a separate supplemental addition with 11 minor league players just for today. On top of that, a couple others were added who were not on any roster at all. This even perplexed Cubs Media Relations Assistant Director Jason Carr, who was announcing (on the interior press box mic) number 96 going into right field, only to see that 96 on the supplemental sheet was a right handed pitcher. Then he started announcing another player and realized he wasn’t sure who that player was, to which he said, “we’ll get back with you on who these guys are.” While this creates some difficulty for me, it’s all part of being a spring training P.A. Announcer. Those regular season baseball P.A. announcers have it easy.

One of the pluses of seeing all these young players is getting to announce for the very first time as a Cub, players who will potentially be stars of the future. Today it was Javier Baez, who was the Cubs first round pick (#9 overall) in the June draft. Baez in January, was listed by MLB.com as the 8th best MLB shortstop prospect.

Tomorrow we’ll reveal (with help from Pat Hughes and Len Kasper) the Award winning Cubs fan websites and blogs in the 2012 Boys of Spring – Best Cubs Sites Awards.

Today’s photos by BOS’s John Antonoff

Theo 

Reed Johnson slides in safe at home on a Joe Mather double
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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