Lester has 'good, normal' outing in Minors game

Left-hander makes 54 pitches in first action since experiencing tired arm

Lester has 'good, normal' outing in Minors game

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' Jon Lester threw 54 pitches in a Minor League game Thursday, and he wanted to focus on his next start and what he needs to do to prepare for that rather than look ahead to Opening Night.

Lester struck out three of the 12 Double-A Tennessee batters he faced and gave up one hit and walked one.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs assign 12 players to Minor League camp

Pitchers Parker, Ortiz optioned to Triple-A Iowa

Cubs assign 12 players to Minor League camp

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs assigned 12 players to Minor League camp, including right-handed pitcher Blake Parker and left-handed pitcher Joe Ortiz, who were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs also assigned 10 non-roster invitees to Minor League camp, including right-handed pitchers Daniel Bard, Anthony Carter, Jorge De Leon and Gonzalez Germen; left-handed pitcher Francisley Bueno; infielder Chris Valaika; outfielders Albert Almora, Mike Baxter and Adron Chambers; and catcher Kyle Schwarber.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

'Dead arm' a dead issue for Lester

Cubs can rest easy after new ace reports no problem in return to mound

'Dead arm' a dead issue for Lester

MESA, Ariz. -- Sighs of relief all the way around for Chicago Cubs loyalists. Jon Lester is OK. He is all right. In fact, he is much better than that.

Lester had missed a Cactus League start Saturday because of the dreaded, yet commonplace, "dead-arm" syndrome. Because he is a centerpiece of the Cubs' expected revival, because he is worth $155 million over six years to the Cubs, this development was viewed in some quarters as dreadful, ominous and further evidence that gloom and doom have a permanent home at Wrigley Field.

More

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon: No decision on Baez's roster status

Maddon: No decision on Baez's roster status

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Joe Maddon has made it known he's impressed with Javier Baez's defensive play and the young infielder's baseball acumen, but neither the manager nor anyone else in the front office has told Baez that he has made the Cubs' Opening Day roster.

Maddon denied a report that Baez was on the final 25-man roster, and added that neither Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer gave the infieder the go-ahead either.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wood pleased with outing after Cubs fall to Mariners

Lefty allows 3 runs over 5 innings Wednesday; Castro returns with base hit

Wood pleased with outing after Cubs fall to Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Young Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker hurled six more scoreless innings Wednesday, and catcher Mike Zunino hit his fourth home run of the spring as Seattle defeated the Cubs, 3-2, in a night game at Peoria Stadium.

Travis Wood, battling for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation, allowed three runs and five hits over five innings. The lefty was happy with his outing.

More

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs prospect Bryant to see action in left field

Cubs prospect Bryant to see action in left field

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant will get to play the outfield on Thursday.

Bryant has played third base and was the designated hitter while limited because of fatigue in his right shoulder in Cactus League games so far. He's been doing outfield drills this week with bench coach Dave Martinez, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday that the plan is to have Bryant try left field.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon: Jackson getting lost 'can't happen'

Maddon: Jackson getting lost 'can't happen'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Edwin Jackson's misdirection didn't go over too well with Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Jackson went to the wrong ballpark for his start on Tuesday because he followed the directions on his Google Map app, which sent him to Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The trouble is, the game was being played at Hohokam Stadium, just 3.6 miles from where the Cubs train.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castro returns to action, eyes 162 games played

Castro returns to action, eyes 162 games played

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro went 1-for-3 as he returned to the Cubs' lineup Wednesday after missing five days because of tightness in his right groin, and the shortstop is eager to play 162 games this season.

Castro, who turned 25 on Tuesday, had not played since March 19 in a game against the D-backs, when he made a fielding error that led to two runs. He admitted Wednesday that he hadn't been feeling good on the field.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

9 is fine: Bryant homers -- again

Chicago's top prospect clubs MLB-leading long ball in third inning vs. A's

9 is fine: Bryant homers -- again

MESA, Ariz. -- Another day, another home run for Kris Bryant.

The Cubs top prospect belted his ninth spring home run in the third inning Tuesday against the Athletics, connecting on the first pitch from Drew Pomeranz, who had struck out Bryant in the first.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

GPS issues start rough day for Jackson

Cubs starter gets lost driving to ballpark, then allows eight runs vs. A's

GPS issues start rough day for Jackson

MESA, Ariz. -- Apparently, Google Maps hasn't updated the Spring Training locations in Arizona. On Tuesday, Edwin Jackson used the app for directions to Hohokam Stadium where he was scheduled to start. Trouble is, it sent him to their old home, Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

"I put in Google Maps and typed in 'Oakland Athletics Spring Training complex,' and it took me to the old one," Jackson said. "I know it's crazy, but that pretty much sums it up."

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant's 9th homer not enough for Cubs

Top prospect goes deep, but Jackson allows eight runs in loss to A's

Bryant's 9th homer not enough for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's busted out for 10 runs in the first three innings of Tuesday's 14-2 win over the Cubs at Hohokam Stadium, getting two-run home runs from Billy Butler and Stephen Vogt along the way.

Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant belted his Major League-leading ninth spring home run in the third inning, connecting on the first pitch from A's starter Drew Pomeranz, who had struck out Bryant in the first.

More

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon remains confident in Baez despite strikeouts

Manager impressed with infielder's overall skill set

Maddon remains confident in Baez despite strikeouts

MESA, Ariz. -- Javier Baez leads the Cubs in strikeouts this spring and is batting less than .150, but if you're only looking at that part of the infielder's game, you're not seeing the whole picture, manager Joe Maddon says.

"Generally speaking, fans are always going to evaluate position players by their batting average," Maddon said Tuesday. "They don't care about their defense, they don't care how well they run the bases, they don't care about any of that stuff.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kris Bryant hit another HR (yes, this is a new post)

|
Kris Bryant hit another HR (yes, this is a new post)

The sun rose in the east today, so Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant hit another home run.

Heading into Tuesday's game against the Athletics, Bryant was 12-for-25 on the spring with eight home runs. In his second at-bat of the game, Bryant homered again, raising his total to nine and upping that batting average to an otherworldly .481. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

Given birthday off, recovered Castro ready to return

Shortstop feels better after being sidelined by tight right groin

Given birthday off, recovered Castro ready to return

MESA, Ariz. -- Shortstop Starlin Castro, sidelined with a tight right groin, is expected to return to the Cubs lineup on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon said. The Cubs decided to give Castro, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, an extra day of treatment.

"When a guy says he feels better, we give him one more day," Maddon said Tuesday.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

On the Cusp: Chicago Cubs

Bryant, Russell highlight top prospects who could contribute this season

On the Cusp: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have been collecting talent in their prospect bank, and soon many of their assets will reach maturity. It will be time to cash in the stash and collect the dividends.

It all began last year when Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler got their first taste of big league baseball. It will continue this season when several other multi-talented prospects graduate to Clark and Addison.

More

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring power outage not a concern for Rizzo

Last year's Cubs leader with 32 homers feels fine despite not yet going yard

Spring power outage not a concern for Rizzo

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs rank second in the Majors this spring in home runs even though Anthony Rizzo, who led the team last year with 32, has zero, and yet he feels really good at the plate.

"I feel great," Rizzo said Monday. "It's really weird. I hit some good balls but they haven't found a hole."

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After 'pen session, Lester confident he's on track

Left-hander sticking to routine, building arm strength in anticipation of Opening Night

After 'pen session, Lester confident he's on track

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, scratched from his last start because of a tired arm, threw a bullpen session on Monday, and he said he's on schedule for Opening Night, April 5.

"Today was more getting out there, getting my feet under me and going through my normal routine," Lester said after the workout at the Cubs' complex. "The other stuff will be there. We're still in the process of building arm strength and arm speed, and that will come as the innings get higher.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wheels turning in Maddon's head over roster

Cubs manager not revealing ideas, but has zeroed in on pinch-hitting, defense

Wheels turning in Maddon's head over roster

MESA, Ariz. -- There's less than two weeks to go before the Cubs open the season, and although Joe Maddon is still learning his players, he has discovered one thing: All the power makes him feel as if he's still managing an American League team.

Arizona has been "Colorado South" and not Wrigley Field in April, when the wind blows in. The Cubs rank second in the Majors with 29 home runs this spring.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walk-up music for Maddon? Better tune in

Cubs manager wants three songs for in-game moments this season

Walk-up music for Maddon? Better tune in

MESA, Ariz. -- With the new video board at Wrigley Field this year, Cubs players can pick three songs for their walk-up music options. But what about the manager?

"When you go out to the mound to talk to the pitcher, why would I not have walk-up music?" manager Joe Maddon said.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel fans 9 Padres in scoreless start

Cubs righty allows three hits over five innings; Alcantara hits solo shot

Hammel fans 9 Padres in scoreless start

MESA, Ariz. -- Tommy Medica smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning and James Shields threw five no-hit innings as the Padres beat the Cubs, 6-1, on Sunday in front of 15,206 at Sloan Park.

Arismendy Alcantara hit a solo home run in the sixth for Chicago, and starter Jason Hammel struck out nine over five scoreless innings.

More

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happy 25th birthday to Starlin Castro

|
Happy 25th birthday to Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro finally turns 25 years old Tuesday. We say finally, because frankly it is absurd that a human being could accomplish what Castro has before even being able to rent a car without restriction.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Cubs lose locks for 'Respect Bald' campaign

Organization raises funds to support children with cancer

Cubs lose locks for 'Respect Bald' campaign

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon hopes he had his last haircut for the year on Sunday, as he helped raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Maddon and more than 20 players had their heads shaved near one of the practice fields at the Cubs' complex as part of the first "Respect Bald" campaign.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Groin tightness a minor issue for Starlin

Cubs shortstop expects to return to lineup on Tuesday

Groin tightness a minor issue for Starlin

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, scratched from Saturday's lineup with a tight right groin, said he feels 100 percent and expects to play Tuesday, his 25th birthday.

Castro said he felt the tightness in his groin on Thursday during an at-bat.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs could play homer-happy Bryant in outfield

Prospect has been playing third base, but Maddon says he's 'all for' trying new position

Cubs could play homer-happy Bryant in outfield

MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant passed all the tests at third base, and the next step will likely be having the Cubs' top prospect play some outfield.

Bryant, who posted his third two-homer game this spring on Saturday to raise his spring total to eight home runs, did not start Sunday, but he will play on Tuesday. Where is to be determined. He did not play third base for more than one week because of fatigue in his right shoulder, and will likely start drills in the outfield on Tuesday. The Cubs have an off-day Monday.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon tries out pitcher in eighth-spot of lineup

Cubs manager believes tweak makes sense with some of club's hurlers

Maddon tries out pitcher in eighth-spot of lineup

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon has quizzed the club's "brainiac" department regarding the pros and cons of having the pitcher bat eighth, and during Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Padres, he tested it with Jason Hammel. It won't be the last time.

"Our lineup should be relatively thick up and down," Maddon said of the potential for offensive output. "Whoever is hitting in front of the pitcher will be at a disadvantage. If there's one of those last two guys in the lineup who you like a lot in regards to maybe getting on base and being a pretty good hitter, it would be advantageous to us and to him to hit him ninth."

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant adds two homers, including one off Felix

Prospect leads Cubs' scoring spree vs. Mariners

Bryant adds two homers, including one off Felix

MESA, Ariz. -- Top prospect Kris Bryant notched his third two-homer game this spring to raise his total to eight home runs, most in the Major Leagues, and Addison Russell added a two-run shot to power the Cubs to a 12-10 victory Saturday over the Mariners.

Bryant connected in the first off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez with a runner at second and one out, launching a 2-2 pitch far back onto the left-field berm. It was the first home run off Hernandez this spring.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant gaining confidence as spring spree continues apace

Cubs prospect logs third two-homer game this month in win over M's

Bryant gaining confidence as spring spree continues apace

MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant is making a statement this spring, and that's exactly what he wants to do.

The Cubs' top prospect belted his seventh and eighth spring home runs, most in the Major Leagues, including a two-run shot off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez Saturday. It's his third two-homer game this spring.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.