Sveum welcomes spring with open arms

Sveum welcomes spring with open arms

MESA, Ariz. -- Dale Sveum has been waiting for Sunday's first workout for what seems like forever.

"It seems like I got hired two years ago," the new Cubs manager said after the first session at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz. "You're just waiting for this day to come to finally get on the field, and it took until late afternoon to get out there.

"When you do this for so many years, the most comfortable spot you're in is when you're on the grass and Spring Training and when the balls are being hit and caught and thrown and to be able to talk to everybody. It's officially baseball season, finally, and that's when we're all most comfortable."

What is Sveum looking for on the first day for pitchers and catchers?

"Coming in like this, new, all I've done is seen guys on video besides the Garzas and Dempsters and these guys," he said. "The young guys, you want to see how the ball comes out of their hand, you want to see their poise on the mound, especially the first day. Some guys come in and they try to impress and get a little out of whack. Today I was impressed by a lot of the young guys and guys I haven't seen. We have a lot of good arms in camp."

The only non-participant was lefty John Gaub, sidelined because of back spasms, which started earlier this week. Fifteen pitchers threw side sessions on Sunday, including Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, Jeff Samardzija and Trey McNutt.

Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio are trying to sort out who will make the rotation but also define roles for some pitchers like Samardzija, who was used in relief last season but has expressed a desire to start.

"We just want to look at him and see how he reacts to multiple innings and see what happens by the end of Spring Training to make that decision," Sveum said as to whether Samardzija will start or pitch in relief. "We haven't promised anybody anything. The fact of the matter is to see what we've got there. He might wow us -- you never know. That's a power arm and a power body that is obviously built to start."