This spring marks the start of the Cubs 30th consecutive spring in Mesa, the longest active streak in the Cactus League. (My good fortune to have been there for 25 of them) San Francisco is 2nd, with 28 consecutive springs in Scottsdale.
The Cubs spring home opener at Hohokam was spoiled by a Giants split-squad team 8-6. The now legendary, Ryan Rohlinger hit a grand salami while pinch hitting in the 8th inning, courtesy of Cubs non-roster invitee Les Walrond. That’s how these spring training games tend to go, especially early in spring- decided by hitters and pitchers who most likely won’t be on a major league roster come regular season. Like the Giants Rohlinger who has in his brief minor league career climbed as high as single A, batting a torrid .235 last season. The Cubs did however hold a 4-3 lead when most of the starters exited the game, in the 5th inning.
Big Z started, and looked good in his first outing. He gave up a run on two hits; he couldn’t quite field a routine grounder coming off the mound towards first base, making an error, and allowing the un-earned run. Again, these are the kinks that get worked out in spring training. Rich Hill pitched the next 2 innings, and gave up a run on 3 hits, while striking out 3 Giants. Marmol had a nice one-two-three inning.
News and Notes: Kosuke Fukudome (yes, it was fun to say that name for the first time over the P.A) looks to have a very sharp eye at the plate. He has drawn a walk 3 times out of 6 hitting opportunities in his first two games. This will help D-Lee and Aramis Ramiriez drive in alot of runs this season. Speaking of D-Lee, he looks to be in great physical shape this year. After getting a hit in the first inning Lee reached 3rd base, while taking his lead at third Derrek had to use his vertical jump to avoid getting his feet taken out from under him by a slicing liner hit by Felix Pie.
Of course, we had a few technical difficulties in the first game. Our main scoreboard kept shorting out, and turning off and on. This kept the scoreboard operator’s fingers busy, as they had to re-enter the data each time this happened- and it happened alot. Last year, or two years ago, I don’t remember which, I announced Cubs non-roster invitee Casey McGehee for the first time, and I pronounced it “McGee”. Then, I heard Cubs GM Jim Hendry pronounce it several times the way it looks, so I changed to the Hendry pronunciation. Today after the game I was informed by the Cubs media relations that it is the way I originally was pronouncing it- such is the life of a PA guy.
D-Lee & Dome yesterday in Scottsdale