Cubs start Spring Training

With Cubs spring training officially getting underway Feb. 14, Northsiders Report takes a look at who's breaking in the new facility in Mesa. Also a look at transactions as well as the Cubs 2013 minor league free agents and where they signed

The official starting date for pitchers and catchers was Feb. 13 but many players arrived early to become familiar with the new state-of-the-art facility at Riverview Park in Mesa. Open houses, ribbon cuttings and other festivities have been common place at Cubs Park but spring training action officially begins on Feb. 14 with the first formal workout for pitchers and catchers. Position players are expected to be in camp on Tuesday, Feb. 18 with the team's first full-squad workout on Feb. 19.

Along with the 40-man roster, the Cubs invited 24 non-roster players to camp, including top prospects Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora. Jorge Soler, the other member of the "Big 4", is on the 40-man roster and will also be in camp.

While the media's eyes will be on the future, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be looking to get back on track after struggling in 2013. The Cubs will also be under a new leader as Rick Renteria takes over the helm in his first year as manager. Cubs have several new faces in the coaching staff including Bill Mueller (hitting coach), Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Gary Jones (third base coach), Mike Brumley (assistant hitting coach) and Eric Hinske (first base coach). Here's a story on the coaching staff.

NorthSiders Report has combined the 40-man roster and the non-roster invitees. You can click on the player's name to link to their player pages. Here's Northsiders Report's roster page

40-Man—Jake Arrieta. Dallas Beeler, Alberto Cabrera, Kyuji Fujikawa, Justin Grimm, Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson, James McDonald, Blake Parker, Neil Ramirez, Hector Rondon, Zac Rosscup, Chris Rusin, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Pedro Strop, Jose Veras, Carlos Villanueva, Arodys Vizcaino, Travis Wood, Wesley Wright. Non-Roster—Marcus Hatley, Kyle Hendricks, Tommy Hottovy, Eric Jokisch, Carlos Pimentel, Armando Rivero, Jonathan Sanchez, Brian Schlitter, Tsuyoshi Wada.

40-Man—Wellington Castillo, George Kottaras. Non-Roster—John Baker, Rafael Lopez, Eli Whiteside. Will Remillard and Luis Flores will also assist behind the plate at the big league camp.

40-man—Arismendy Alcantara, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Donnie Murphy, Mike Olt, Anthony Rizzo, Luis Valbuena, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters, Logan Watkins. Non-roster—Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Ryan Roberts, Chris Valaika, Jeudy Valdez

40-man—Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Justin Ruggiano, Nate Schierholtz, Jorge Soler, Ryan Sweeney, Matt Szczur. Non-Roster—Albert Almora, Chris Coghlan, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Kalish, Mitch Maier, Darnell McDonald, Casper Wells

The Cubs play their inaugural game at Cubs Park in the spring opener on Thursday, Feb. 27, against the Arizona Diamondbacks split-squad at 2:05 p.m. CST. Here's the full spring training schedule including radio, tv and internet broadcasts.

Cubs make signings official, two claimed off waivers
The Cubs made the signings of right-handed pitchers Jason Hammel and James McDonald official today and added both pitchers to the 40-man roster. To make room for the pair, the Cubs placed LHP Brooks Raley and RHP Brett Marshall on waivers. Raley, a sixth-round pick in 2009,was claimed by the Twins while Marshall, acquired this off-season on a waiver claim from the Yankees, was grabbed by the Red. Marshall is the second pitcher the Cubs acquired this off-season that never got to throw a pitch for them. They claimed Liam Hendricks off waivers from the Twins and when they tried to send him to the minors, Hendricks was claimed by the Orioles.

Cubs get all eight arbitration eligible players signed
The Cubs and starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija agreed on a one-year $5.35 million deal, avoiding an arbitration hearing set for Feb. 10. Samardzija was the final arbitration-eligible player to come to terms with the Cubs as they reached deals with eight players. Also reaching one-year deals and avoiding arbitration were: Darwin Barney, $2.3 million; Justin Ruggiano, $2; Travis Wood, $3.9; Luis Valbuena, $1.71; James Russell, $1.78; Pedro Strop, $1.33; and Nate Schierholtz, $5. The Cubs now have all their players under contract.

Minor League free agents
Cubs had 22 minor leaguers that declared for free agency after the 2013 season and re-signed two of those—LHP Jeffry Antigua and OF Darnell McDonald. Those signing with other teams include C J.C Boscan (Dodgers), RHP Michael Bowden (Japan), LHP Kyler Burke (Phillies), RHP Yeiper Castillo (Angles), RHP/OF Johermyn Chavez (Royals), RHP Rafael Dolis (Giants), OF Cole Gillespie (Mariners), OF Thomas Neal (Reds), RHP Zach Putnam (White Sox), RHP Henry Rodriguez (Marlins), RHP Eduardo Sanchez (Tigers) and RHP Casey Weathers (Giants). OF Ty Wright, IF Tim Torres, IF Nate Samson, 1B Brad Nelson, IF Edwin Maysonet, C Nathan Maldonado, and RHP Jaye Chapman remain unsigned.

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Thanks to Cubs outfield prospect Charcer Burks for the excellent shot at Cubs Park.

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