Jeff Samardzija got the win for the Cubs on Sunday at HoHoKam Park.
Two Spring Training games completed, two wins for the Cubs (yay?).
After smacking the Angels 11-2 on Saturday at Tempe (read our recap on that game, here), the Cubs opened their final year at Mesa's HoHoKam Park with a 4-3 victory on Sunday over the Giants.
Here's some notable things to take away from Sunday's events at HoHoKam:
- The main story on Sunday with the Cubs didn't have to do with the game, but rather rumors about outfielder Alfonso Soriano being a potential trade target for the New York Yankees after their star outfielder Curtis Granderson broke his forearm on Sunday and could miss 10 weeks. If the Yankees were to target Soriano and work out a deal with the Cubs, would Soriano waive his no-trade clause to go there? He made it clear on Sunday that he'd prefer to win in Chicago, and would rather see how things are going with the Cubs before possibly accepting a trade to a contender. However, he did say (and you can find this quote and many more ones worth reading in the above link) that if the Yankees called, "... I have to think about it. I don't want to make a quick reaction and say 'Yeah' or say 'No.' I want to think about it. I'm 37 years old so I have to think first what’s good for me and for the team and for my family, too." So, to quickly summarize: Soriano would much prefer to try to win in Chicago, but would at least think about accepting a trade to the Yankees... but would be more inclined to accepting a trade later in the season if the Cubs are clearly not contenders.
- As for the game, the Cubs got all four runs off Giants stud right-hander Matt Cain in the first inning, although all of the runs were unearned due to an error from the Giants to extend the inning before the runs scored. Three of the runs came on a homer from new Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro. The 29-year-old switch-hitter played in 24 games with the Reds in 2012, putting up a .290/.306/.449 line at the plate, and has a career line of .245/.306/.357 in 2,239 plate appearances. Defensively, he's solid, and would be a nice mentor for the 25-year-old Welington Castilo. He'll battle Steve Clevenger for the Cubs' backup catching position, and I'd definitely put my money on him getting the job.
- The Cubs' other run came on an RBI groundout from outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who will likely be in a right field platoon with veteran Scott Hairston to start the season. That's unless Brett Jackson impresses so much in Spring Training that he takes the Cubs' starting centerfield job, moving David DeJesus to right field, but the Cubs sound intent on their plan to put Jackson in Iowa to start the season.
- Jeff Samardzija got the start and win for the Cubs, going two innings, with one earned run allowed on three hits. He struck out two. Shark thought his fastball and splitter were fine on the day, but that his slider "stunk", and his focus for his next start will be to have a better slider. As for possibly being the Opening Day starter, Shark said on Sunday after his outing, "I haven't had that conversation at all. We're still waiting to see what happens with Garz (Matt Garza) and how he comes along. They know where I stand on it and how I feel."
- 32-year-old Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, who the Cubs signed to a two-year, $9.5 million deal in the offseason, made his MLB Spring Training debut on Sunday, and tossed a scoreless inning. He allowed one hit, struck out two, and threw 9 of the 10 pitches for strikes, something that will make manager Dale Sveum quite happy.
- Speaking of throwing strikes, the Cubs' pitching staff only walked one batter for the second straight day.
- Carlos Marmol gave up one run in one inning of work, allowing a hit, walking a batter, and striking out one.
- Shawn Camp threw a flawless ninth inning to record the save.
- While the talk about Soriano on Sunday has been in regards to a possible Yankees trade, he also went 2 for 2 at the plate. Brian Bogusevic and Johermyn Chavez each went 2 for 2 as well.
- Sveum was very impressed with rule-5 pick Hector Rondon's Saturday performance: "Each time he threw a scud, he came back with a strike. That's what I was impressed with all our pitchers (Saturday). If they got behind, they came back and got back in the count with a strike and didn't let the at-bat get away from them." "It was nice to see Rondon in action for the first time. He threw about three or four cutters that were real quality, which is a pitch he'll have to use. He got back in the count one time with a slider after throwing a scud slider. He showed a lot of poise out there."