The Rundown: Lester Throws Bullpen Session, Says He’s On Track for Opening Day; More Signs Pointing to Cubs Carrying 3 Catchers
When it was announced last week that new Cubs ace Jon Lester’s Saturday start would be skipped due to “dead arm,” I have to admit I feared the worst. Even though all reports indicated it was nothing to worry about, I’m not sure if it’s possible as a Cubs fan to not let pessimistic thoughts creep in, especially when it involves a superstar pitcher.
My fear has been quelled a bit after Lester successfully completed a bullpen session yesterday. Patrick Mooney writes that Lester will be making his next spring start on Thursday, as long as everything remains on schedule.
And it sounds like the ace pitcher is confident he’ll be on the mound for Opening Day against St. Louis on April 5. “We’ve still got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “But I don’t think there’s any question mark for it. There’s no worry in my mind.”
When he says “we’ve still got a long ways to go,” I’m going to go ahead and assume (hope) that he means there is still plenty of time to get ready for Opening Day, and not that he means he’s a long ways away from making a regular season start.
I think I’ll try some optimism for a change.
New reality: 3 catchers?
So is this three-catchers thing for real? From the moment the Cubs inked catcher David Ross this winter, it appeared Welington Castillo would be out the door at any moment.
But he’s still here. And even after putting together a solid spring and receiving lots of praise from manager Joe Maddon, I have firmly believed Castillo didn’t have a chance to make the roster.
Well, maybe that small chance will, in fact, be a reality. Jesse Rogers writes that Theo Epstein said over the weekend that the Cubs are indeed “leaning” toward keeping three catchers on the roster.
“Joe (Maddon) is the one pounding the table for three catchers,” Epstein said. “He wants it more than anybody.”
Epstein also cites the potential for an injury, and that having to call up a catcher from the minors because of injury could “sabotage the whole pitching staff.”
Rogers wonders, as do I, if Epstein is simply trying to make Castillo more marketable to other teams, but he also points out that the Cubs president has been pretty transparent.
This situation is a head-scratcher for me. But the more time that goes on, the more I start to think they’ll actually go through with keeping the third catcher on the roster.
* Ken Rosenthal shares an amusing story about Dexter Fowler from last year, when the new Cubs outfielder witnessed the awesomeness of Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler while on a Triple-A rehab assignment for Houston. Spoiler: He was impressed. (Side note, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Fowler so far this spring. I’m pretty excited to see him at the top of the Cubs’ lineup in 2015.)
* Yesterday, I forgot to share this tweet by Peter Gammons from over the weekend. It pretty much makes me giddy:
John Malee says Jorge Soler hasn't swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring. Scary good. May be best of Cubs lot right now
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 21, 2015