Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Randy Wells and Tony Campana are among the topics in this week's Cubs Inbox. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your name and hometown. We'll get back on a regular schedule.
With Marlon Byrd struggling so far, how long do you see the Cubs waiting to bring up Brett Jackson? He looked impressive in Spring Training, and he could be a boost to the lineup. -- Nick A., Valparaiso, Ind.
Jackson did have a good spring, but he still has some things to learn -- such as cutting down on strikeouts -- which is why the Cubs want him in the Minor Leagues. He's batting .273 at Triple-A Iowa with 16 strikeouts and six walks. Jackson has had just 229 at-bats at the Triple-A level, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he likes to see players get a full calendar year at Triple-A.
"With potential impact young players, we always try to make decisions based on what's best for their development," Epstein said. "There's a certain set of criteria for advancement at each level of the Minor League system."
Jackson still has things to work on. And while Byrd is off to a rough start (2-for-31), it's a little early to be writing him off.
Why wasn't Randy Wells given a shot this spring? Is he injured? His numbers looked really good yet he didn't get much work and didn't make the team. What are we missing? -- David P., Oak Park, Ill.
Wells did pitch this spring. The Spring Training stats are a little deceiving because they don't include games he pitched in the Minor League camp. The difference is that Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad were better and showed better command of all their pitches. If Wells were hurt, he wouldn't be pitching at Triple-A Iowa. His job now is to be ready in case the big league club needs help. Wells knows better than anyone how quick things can change after he was sidelined last April with an injury.
How about a status report on the Cubs' new Spring Training facility in Mesa? After the voters approved it, I haven't heard anything. -- R.J. A., Prescott, Ariz.
The Cubs are still finalizing the details of the design. Groundbreaking should be in June or July. The plan is still to be ready to go for Spring Training 2014.
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I'm a really big fan of Tony Campana. Is there any new news on him? Or is he even coming back to the Majors? -- Heather W., Chicago
Campana is playing at Triple-A Iowa. He didn't have a great spring (.222), partly because of a wrist injury. Will Campana be back? He could. Right now, the Cubs like the versatility they have on the bench with Joe Mather and Blake DeWitt.
What's happening with my hometown boy, Hayden Simpson, No. 6 in the 2010 Draft? I watched him in high school and at Southern Arkansas University and am anxious to see him at Wrigley Field in the future. -- Terry A., Magnolia, Ariz.
Simpson is pitching for Class A Daytona, and in two starts, he's given up four earned runs on 12 hits over 10 innings. The right-hander was slowed after he was drafted because of a nasty bout with mononucleosis. Simpson lost a lot of weight, and it's taken some time for him to get his strength back.