Cubs might win Sean Marshall trade after all
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com March 23, 2013 8:01PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:26AM
MESA, Ariz. — A year after Cubs fans moaned about the new front office trading stud reliever Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds for a couple of guys who couldn’t stick with the big-league club, Travis Wood and Dave Sappelt could be rewriting the history of that deal.
“That was the plan,” Sappelt said Saturday. “I was young. I was always putting up numbers, playing defense. The capabilities were there.
“And I think Wood has the stuff, too. He always dominated coming up in the minors. He used to throw 97, believe it or not.”
Sappelt made the club as the fifth outfielder after an impressive monthlong performance in his Cubs debut last September. The left-handed Wood, who relies as much on movement and location now, is in the Cubs’ opening rotation.
That’s a lefty starter and a versatile outfielder with the chance to hit his way into more playing time for a late-inning reliever who would have been especially expensive to keep for a non-contender.
“I think it could turn out to be a good trade,” said Sappelt, dubbed “Mighty Mite” by his former manager, Dusty Baker. “I think it already is a good trade, and I’ll get to face Marshall a lot, so we’ll see.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum, a fan of Sappelt’s hitting since last season, lauded Wood’s development into a valuable starter since his rough spring a year ago.
“It’s turning out pretty good right now,” Sveum said of the trade, “with the addition of Sappelt, who has obviously proved to us that he can hit major-league pitching and play defense, and a capable guy that if something did happen, I think he could play every day and contribute that way, too.”
Big day for Baker
Right-hander Scott Baker said his surgically repaired elbow felt “much better” six days after suffering a setback during his lone Cactus League start, giving him some optimism on the eve of his exam by the team’s top orthopedist.
Baker, who has been shut down indefinitely, had an MRI exam that revealed enough potential problems to prompt Stephen Gryzlo to fly from Chicago for a visit before the club was willing to say what the MRI revealed or suggest a prognosis.
“It’s hard not to feel OK about [the exam Sunday] because I am feeling much better,” Baker said. “Obviously, we’re doing something right as far as treatment, and the medications are obviously helping. And there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, either. With that combination, it feels a lot better, so we’ll just see what the doc says.”
Don’t count on the Cubs to pick up either Bill Hall (Los Angeles Angels) or Chone Figgins (Miami Marlins), utility players who were recently released, for the end of their bench.
Both struggled mightily at the plate the last two seasons, and Hall has been sidelined most of the month with calf and quadriceps injuries. The Cubs consider catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger a stronger option in-house.
CUBS 7, ANGELS (ss) 6
E-JAX WATCH: The Cubs’ No. 2 starter pitched one batter deep into the sixth inning with mixed results against an Angels B lineup. But he said he feels healthy, strong and ready to compete when his season starts April 3.
B-JAX WATCH: The outfield prospect sidelined more than two weeks with a sore shoulder threw without problems Friday, hit off a tee and is on track to play again during the final week of camp.
DAVID ON GOLIATH TEAR: When center fielder David DeJesus singled to center in the fifth, he extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He added an RBI single in the seventh. DeJesus is 17-for-34 during the streak.
BENCH WATCH: Infielder Alberto Gonzalez, who came off the bench defensively, drove in two runs to tie the score with a double to left-center in the seventh. He was thrown out going for a triple. Catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger, who also entered late, responded with a double to the same spot leading off the eighth. His pinch runner eventually scored from third on a passed ball. Gonzalez and Clevenger are the last two players vying for the final bench spot.
MISTER BLISTER: Bullpen candidate Rafael Dolis pitched for the first time since leaving a game with a blister on his index finger six days earlier. He got the save with a scoreless ninth, despite a pair of hits (one was erased on a pickoff).
CROWD CONTROL: The game drew the first sellout at HoHoKam Stadium in 15 games, with three home dates left. The Cubs had four sellouts last spring.
ON DECK: Cubs at Indians, Goodyear, 3:05 p.m., 720-AM. Chris Rusin vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.