New Cub Jon Lester threw his first session of live batting practice yesterday, with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler standing in to take their hacks. I realize it’s only batting practice, but I still find this extremely cool.
Behind the plate was a familiar face for Lester: David Ross. The two were teammates in Boston for two seasons, with Lester enjoying decent success with Ross as a battery-mate (2.77 ERA in 29 games).
While not ready to make a definitive decision, manager Joe Maddon sounded like he’s leaning toward making Ross Lester’s personal catcher.
“On the surface it looks like you want David to catch Jon,” Maddon told Jesse Rogers. The Cubs would be sacrificing offense to have Ross in there over Miguel Montero, but Maddon said the defensive aspect sometimes can outweigh the hitting.
I could see Ross catching a bunch of games with Lester on the mound, but I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to predict exactly what Maddon will do with the lineup on a daily basis.
Baez lowers hands
Javier Baez admitted yesterday that he has lowered his hands in his batting stance, according to Mark Gonzales.
Lowering the hands theoretically will help shorten Baez’s swing, and hopefully help him make better contact. The young infielder has a very long swing, which also makes it more difficult to lay off pitches out of the zone — given that he has to begin his swing so early.
As for Baez facing Jon Lester yesterday, this is what he had to say about it:
Baez after facing Lester in live BP: "He's pretty nasty. He didn't throw anything straight.… I [told him] I prefer to play defense for you."
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) February 27, 2015
* On the minor injury front, C.J. Edwards was sporting a bandage on his right index finger yesterday due to a nail problem, writes Carrie Muskat. Also, Zac Rosscup took a line drive off his right wrist while throwing batting practice to Jorge Soler. Sounds like Rosscup seemed to be OK, though.
* Adam Wainwright should have enough starts in Spring Training to be ready for Opening Night, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright is dealing with an abdominal injury, which was revealed this week as only a strain. He should be ready to take the mound as a starter in two or three weeks, which should put him on track to face off against Jon Lester on April 5.
* Former Cub Juan Pierre is calling it quits. The outfielder had 204 hits and 58 stolen bases for the Cubs in 2006. I remember he hit an Opening Day lead-off triple in his first at-bat with the Cubs, but unfortunately I probably remember Pierre more from his time with Miami in the 2003 NLCS. He had two hits in the dreaded top of the 8th in Game 6.