03/05/12 8:24 PM EST
Cubs agree to terms with 24 players on roster
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
James Russell signed for $512,000, Travis Wood will receive $505,000 and Darwin Barney $500,000.
None of the other players signed for more than $500,000. Other players to agree to 2012 contract terms include right-handed pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Lendy Castillo, Casey Coleman, Rafael Dolis, Marcos Mateo and Casey Weathers; and left-handers Jeff Beliveau, John Gaub and Scott Maine.
Also agreeing to terms were catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger; infielders Adrian Cardenas, Bryan LaHair, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo and Josh Vitters; and outfielders Tony Campana, Dave Sappelt and Matt Szczur.
Recovering Soto likely to see action Saturday
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs catcher Geovany Soto was able to catch on Sunday, and if he continues to progress, he should see his first game action this Saturday.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Soto did everything on Sunday but run 100 percent.
"Everything's going well," Sveum said Monday. "He'll probably be ready to go by [Wednesday], but we'll put him through a few more tests. Everything's going good, he's not feeling anything now in anything he does. That's a good thing. Sometimes groin [injuries] can hang on for a long time."
Soto is the Cubs' regular catcher and his being sidelined has given the team a chance to look at the candidates for backup, which include Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Jason Jaramillo.
Welington Castillo upset Steve Clevenger on Monday in the sweet 16 matches of the Cubs' bunting tournament.
Clevenger, whom manager Dale Sveum joked was the top seed among the final 16, had upset pre-tourney favorite Tony Campana in the first round.
"No excuses," Clevenger said. "[Castillo] bunted better than I did, and we'll leave it at that."
Also advancing on Monday were Adrian Cardenas, Jeff Beliveau and Casey Coleman. The final eight will be determined on Tuesday, and include a match between Sveum and Paul Maholm. Other sweet 16 matchups include Jeff Samardzija against Randy Wells, Joe Mather against Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker against David DeJesus. The championship match will likely be played March 16.
Infielder Adrian Cardenas made a good impression on Sveum on Sunday, when he raced over to foul territory in right field and caught a fly ball.
"He's got a way of centering a baseball," Sveum said of Cardenas, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Athletics on Feb. 6. "He's put together some great at-bats so far early in Spring Training."
But what about that catch?
"That was one heck of a play, a play you don't see," Sveum said.
Campana also helped outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha with a similar save on Saturday in an intrasquad game, when Ha lost a ball in the sun.
"Those are instinctive things," Sveum said. "We can't sit here and practice that and teach that. That's a Major League play and Major League instincts to make plays like that that will save umpteen outs and pitches."
Baker and Mather each had two hits for the Cubs in Monday's 8-7 loss to the Athletics. Anthony Rizzo also made a nice leaping catch of a line drive in the ninth to rob Brandon Moss of an extra-base hit. On Tuesday, the Cubs play host to the Rockies, and Rizzo will start at first. David DeJesus will start in right and lead off, followed by Marlon Byrd in center, Blake DeWitt at second, Alfonso Soriano as the designated hitter, Ian Stewart at third, Junior Lake at short, Rizzo at first, Castillo at catcher and Brett Jackson in left.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith took part in pregame ceremonies Monday to honor the late Robert Brinton, former president of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau and a force in the Cactus League. Instead of a moment of silence, Brinton's widow Nanette asked for a round of applause from the fans, and they obliged. She then threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Kerry Wood. Brinton's initials were painted on the field at HoHoKam Park in his honor. His eight children and some of his dozen grandchildren attended the game.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.