Sveum edges out Wood in bunting tourney

Sveum edges out Wood in bunting tourney

Sveum edges out Wood in bunting tourney
MESA, Ariz. -- Dale Sveum edged Kerry Wood to advance in the first round of the Cubs' bunting tournament on Monday, although the manager got a little help from the turf, as he advanced when Wood's last bunt swerved into the 30-point box rather than the 40 points that he needed.

"That was about as equal as you can get," Sveum said. "I was lucky the grass was growing the other way."

Sveum vs. Wood was Monday's last match, and the manager called on pitching coach and former teammate Chris Bosio to be the "pitcher" rather than coach Pat Listach, who had thrown to the players in the six previous matches. Wood needed to get three bunts into the 40-point box to beat the skipper, and came up just short.

"I got lucky by the way the grass was growing to the east," Sveum said. "The ball kind of fell off the white line. I thought I was done, and I was going to shake his hand, and the ball just trickled off the white line at the end."

The Cubs have created a 64-entry bracket, similar to the NCAA basketball tournament format, and have now completed all but one of the first-round matches. Paul Maholm has been ill, so his one-on-one with Rodrigo Lopez was postponed.

Sveum filled a spot because the Cubs had 63 players in camp. Strength coach Tim Buss had to take pitcher Chris Carpenter's slot after the right-hander was traded to the Red Sox to complete compensation for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

Others to advance on Monday included pitchers Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster. Position players that have advanced include Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto, David DeJesus and Jeff Baker.

"It's a fun thing, but also a lot of people want to get better and care about it," Sveum said. "This tournament shows you guys who like to compete as well. Coming into a camp, you get a feeling of guys who are bearing down and competing, and some guys who aren't competing as well. You get to know somebody a little bit through this tournament."