Monday morning notes
It’s raining again outside (third day in a row) so we know that drills. Indoors, a much larger media contingent is in the work room today with the Aroldis Chapman press conference coming up a few hours. Chapman also has a bullpen session this morning.
Some of the highlights out of Dusty Baker’s office this morning:
With Jonny Gomes not in the fold, at least yet, a reporter mentioned there was slim pickings for right-handed hitters in the outfield that have a chance at making the team.
“Who’s picking the team?” Baker fired back.
Currently, the three leading right-handed hitting contenders for left field are Wladimir Balentien, Todd Frazier and Chris Heisey. Balentien is a .190 hitter lifetime vs. left-handed pitchers, vs. .235 against right-handers — which goes against the norm. Baker doesn’t want to write off Balentien vs. lefties.
“It’s part of our job to teach him,” he said. “That’s one thing that I don’t like too much is that a guy gets labeled with what he can’t do so early in his career. You hope that you can teach him to have a varying philosophy on how to hit them. There are some guys here that can teach guys.”
Frazier is a possiblity to make the team but whether or not the club would be willing to consider him him for a utility role where he wouldn’t get regular at-bats isn’t known yet.
“That’s always a very tough question with a young player,” Baker said. “He is young in experience and professionally. Sometimes the meter runs a little quicker if you’re a college player vs. a high school player.”
There are also a lot of veterans vying for utility spots. There is Aaron Miles, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo plus Paul Janish and Drew Sutton.
Miles reported to camp today carrying a Cubs equipment bag — his team last season. A .282 career hitter, he batted only .185 in 74 games for Chicago after signing a two-year contract.
“I’m just excited to get last year behind me and get back to the baseball I know I can play,” Miles said.
Miles explained some of the issues that set him back last season. More on that later on the main sites.
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