The season starts next week, so the 5 home run output during yesterday’s game shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Cubs beat the Oakland Athletics, 9-5. The surprise is coming.
“He’s a good baseball player,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He gets a lot of publicity based on his personality, but this guy is also a very good player.”
He’s one of the best clubhouse guys you can have. Given any opportunity, he’s the guy that’ll come through in a pinch or a clutch. Besides, he sings a mean karaoke.
I’m really glad the team has resigned this veteran. I hope he gets a chance this season. It was just a case of the depth the Cubs have with the releasing/resigning of a minor league contract.
“Not a thing,” Maddon said. “He couldn’t have had a better Spring Training. What he was lacking was opportunity. There’s enough people right now based on the personnel we had in house.”
True to Kawasaki’s word, “I don’t wanna miss a thing.”
Another guy I’m glad made the cut is Neil Ramirez. Here’s a guy that gave my son a baseball at his first Cubs game two years ago in Boston. A classy guy who goes above and beyond the ball diamond. The guy is going to be a monster in the bullpen.
“I feel the last three, four times I’ve been really locked in out there,” Ramirez said. “My fastball command right now is awesome. The slider is still getting where it needs to be. I’m just happy where I’m at, mentally and physically. Being healthy is huge for me. It’s fun to be out there and just competing again and not having to worry about anything. I’m where I need to be.”
This is going to be a good year for Ramirez because I have a funny feeling that the Cubs aren’t going to be digging deep into the bullpen too much this season.
“I think Neil, based on his performance this spring, is showing signs of approaching what he did a couple years ago,” Maddon said. “The biggest thing with him is to stop pitching to the [radar] gun and try to get hitters out. When he does that, the velocity comes back up. He’s pitched well and deserves to be there.”
The right hander was marred by injuries last season and hopes to have a rebound year with the Cubs.
This is it folks, this time next week we’ll be looking at regular season action. Tomorrow night I gear up for my fantasy baseball league draft. Anthony Rizzo is one of my keepers but man, do I have tough choices to make. It almost feels like I know what Joe Maddon goes through on a daily basis.