Looking at the countdown clock on our homepage, we are less than 22 hours from the Cubs spring training opener in Scottsdale. The Cubs practiced this morning at HoHoKam Stadium for the first time this spring, and it was a picture perfect day here in Mesa, sunshine with an expected high of 80 degrees. Take a look at this 10 day forecast for Mesa, just another reason why the Cactus League is flourishing.
Hohokam is ready for Friday, Four Peaks in distance.
News and notes. Watching the outfielders work on their throws to home and 3rd base, I noticed several of Fukudome’s throws were accurate, but ended up reaching home plate on two bounces. Perhaps he is still taking it easy on his surgically repaired right elbow. Felix Pie’s throws are very impressive, the kid has a cannon for an arm, almost always throwing on a line to home plate without the ball touching the ground (he was hitting the cut-off man but in this drill they didn’t cut it). Ronnie Cedeno was working with the first team infield at 3rd base because Aramis Ramirez came late, Ramirez then took an abbreviated infield before BP.
A-Ram works at Hohokam.
Cubs Bench Coach Alan Trammell had trouble hitting pop-ups to the catchers during infield today. At one point, Geovany Soto tripped over a rolled up carpet into the batting cage, making the catch – without injuring himself. Trammell finally hit a nice pop-up to the catcher, the fans gave him a mock cheer. With Mark DeRosa out because of an irregular heartbeat, Alex Cintron worked at 2nd base, and looked outstanding with his glove during the infield portion of practice. Cintron will start at second base in tomorrow’s Cubs opener.
Koyie Hill and Fukudome share a laugh today.
One pitcher who loves to play in the outfield during batting practice, and actually looks good doing it, is Carlos Zambrano. Z made several nice grabs in right field including a leaping catch taking away a BP Homerun. Big Z was so impressive in the outfield, that Lou Piniella joked Carlos will be his emergency right fielder. Z seems to enjoy every part of the game, he was one of the few pitchers who took BP today. Ted Lilly also made some nice catches in the outfield.
Soriano, Pie, Ramirez, and Soto during BP yesterday.
Geovany Soto, who’s from Puerto Rico has been taking BP with the Dominican triumvirate of Soriano, Ramirez, and Pie. Ron Santo has been a regular at Fitch Park the past couple weeks was at Hohokam today. Let the games begin!
Billy Williams and Ron Santo watch at Hohokam.