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Cubs' bunt tourney has one spot for front office


MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs will hold their second bunting tournament this spring, but the field has been tweaked to open a spot for someone from the front office.

Last year, outfielder David DeJesus won the inaugural event, created by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, which pitted pitchers against position players. This year, one of 16 baseball operations staff members will compete for the 64th spot. Assistant general manager Randy Bush, who has two World Series rings from his playing days with the Twins, has too many professional at-bats and is not in that field of 16, but video coordinator Naoto Masamoto is in.

Who's the favorite from the office staff?

"There are some younger guys in the office who have played," general manager Jed Hoyer said.

That includes Hoyer, who was a pitcher at Wesleyan University and still holds the school's career saves record. He's got a tough first-round match against his boss, Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.

"One of these two guys will be out in the first round," said Sveum, flanked by Hoyer and Epstein at a news conference on Sunday at Fitch Park.

"Jed has good hand-eye coordination, but you can't tell whether he's swinging the bat or bunting," Epstein said. "He drives it like 160 down the middle."

Has he been practicing?

"No," Hoyer said, "but I can tell you, given my size, I bunted a fair amount in college. That was 17 years ago, and I'm a little rusty."

Competition will begin as soon as the Cubs paint the marks on a half field at Fitch Park.

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