One of my favorite things about baseball is that no matter how long you have been a fan, or how many games you have seen, you’ll often witness something you’ve never seen before. It happens all the time.
Yesterday, this phenomenon was delivered by pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson was slated to start Tuesday’s game against the A’s, but he was late arriving to the game and didn’t take the mound until the second inning.
I know this is Spring Training, but this is Major League Baseball we’re talking about — not a 6:00 weeknight beer league softball game. How can you be late?
Initial reports were that Jackson was stuck in traffic, but after his appearance, he told Patrick Mooney that he typed in “Oakland Athletics Spring Training complex” into Google Maps and it directed him to the wrong facility.
Definitely the first time I’ve heard of this happening.
To make matters worse, Jackson was hit hard after entering the game, giving up eight runs and nine hits in 1.2 innings.
I’m interested to hear what manager Joe Maddon has to say about Jackson being late for the start. Will he continue to be positive regarding the pitcher as he has throughout the spring, or will he publicly display any kind of disappointment?
Maddon is a proponent of not spending too much time at the ballpark, and not getting to games too early, but I’m not sure he ever had this in mind.
Baez makes the team, reportedly
After a lot of deliberation over whether Javier Baez would be making the big-league squad out of Spring Training, it appears the young infielder indeed will be heading to Chicago.
Although the Cubs haven’t officially announced it, Gordon Wittenmyer reports that a team official confirmed that Baez was told he’ll make the team.
Baez has had a rough spring at the plate, but has received loads of praise for his defense and base running from Joe Maddon. Apparently, those aspects of Baez’s game are outweighing his contact issues in the team’s decision.
“The swing has nothing to do with it for me. That’s the obvious, surface-layer kind of stuff. That’s the part that’s going to change,” Maddon said. “But if you break down the other components of his game, he’s one of the best young players I’ve seen, period.”
I’m a bit surprised to hear this news, honestly. Maddon has said there would be no entitlement program, and that players would have to earn playing time.
Not saying that Baez didn’t earn the roster spot, but I feel he still has some work to do with pitch recognition and I figured he’d be working on that in Iowa to start the year. But apparently not.
The Cubs do have other options to play second base if Baez falters, including Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara.
* Starlin Castro, who has been dealing with a tight groin, is expected to play today, writes Jesse Rogers. He has been out since the weekend and was originally said to be back yesterday, but Joe Maddon said he wanted to keep him out an extra day to be safe.
* Kris Bryant began outfield drills yesterday, according to Rogers. He remained at third base for yesterday’s loss against the A’s, but Maddon would like to get him some outfield game action in the next couple days — possibly today.
* Don’t be surprised to see Travis Wood pinch hitting some this year, writes Gordon Wittenmyer. Wood said he hasn’t been told whether he’d play any defensive positions other than pitcher, but that he would “do it in a heartbeat.” Wood is a great athlete and has been the focus of many jokes that point out he might be a better option than a lot of the Cubs’ hitters. Sounds like those jokes may become a reality this year.