Cubs fall to White Sox 3-2
Albert Almora (.214) got the start in left field but had his three-game hit streak snapped, going 0-for-3. Almora played the final six innings in right......3B Jeimer Candelario got the start and stroked his fourth double off White Sox starter Jon Danks, the only hit the lefty allowed in five innings. Candelario (.355) finished 1-for-2......SS Carlos Penalver got his first at-bat in the eighth, reached on a throwing error and eventually scored on a wail pitch......The White Sox were able to cool off John Andreoli (.345), fanning the outfielder in both at-bats. White Sox pitchers fanned 13 in the game.....3B Jesse Hodges reached on an error in the eighth and scored on a Travis Wood groundout.....C Willson Contreras and 2B Stephen Bruno were both 0-for-2.
Cubs trim 11 from spring camp
Cubs made more moves on Friday, trimming 11 players from camp to bring the roster down to 45. RHP Carl Edwards, Jr., RHP Pierce Johnson, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, C Willson Contreras, and IF Arismendy Alcantara, all members of the 40-man roster, were sent to Iowa while 3B Jeimer Candelario was assigned to AA Tennessee. Non-roster invitees sent to minor league camp included RHP Stephen Fife, RH Felix Pena, RHP Drew Rucinski, LHP Edgar Olmos, and C Taylor Davis. No surprises with any of these moves.
Second Base Depth
Cubs are solid at second base, and the list doesn’t include any shortstops that could make the move. Ben Zobrist will be roaming Wrigley Field for the next two years with Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella serving as back-ups. They brought in Munenori Kawasaki and Kris Negron as non-roster free agents for even more depth. Arismendy Alcantara is seeing action at second this spring and will start ’16 in Iowa. That’s a solid group.
Stephen Bruno (7th round-2012) started 89 games at second last year in AA (.263/.335/.336) but has battled injuries the last two years and may return for a third straight season in Tennessee due to the backlog in Iowa. Chesny Young (14th round-2014) ran away with the Carolina League batting title and second is just one of the many positions the 2014 draft pick can play. Daniel Lockhart (10th round-2011) best tool is his glove and he should team up with Carlos Penalver for the Tennessee double play combination this summer.
The Cubs top second base prospect has yet to play a pro game at the position. First-round pick Ian Happ, the ninth overall selection last June, played the outfield after turning pro and during fall instructs, made the switch to second. While his bat is ready for the Carolina League, Happ may start the year in South Bend to get his feet wet at second.
Bryant Flete (2012—Venezuela) split time at Tennessee and South Bend last year as a backup, hitting .166/.261/.221 in 58 games. Several lower level players recently drafted— Andrew Ely (32nd round-2014), Angelo Amendolare (27th round-2015), Sutton Whiting (24th round-2015)—not only play second but see time at other infield positions. International players in the pipeline include Ho-young Son, 21, (2014—South Korea), Carlos Sepulveda, 19, (2015—Mexico), and Jhonny Bethencourt, 19, (2015—Venezuela).