02/10/2013 4:55 PM ET
Cubs' bunt tourney has one spot for front office
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs will hold their second bunting tournament this spring, but the field has been tweaked to open a spot for someone from the front office.
Last year, outfielder David DeJesus won the inaugural event, created by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, which pitted pitchers against position players. This year, one of 16 baseball operations staff members will compete for the 64th spot. Assistant general manager Randy Bush, who has two World Series rings from his playing days with the Twins, has too many professional at-bats and is not in that field of 16, but video coordinator Naoto Masamoto is in.
Who's the favorite from the office staff?
"There are some younger guys in the office who have played," general manager Jed Hoyer said.
That includes Hoyer, who was a pitcher at Wesleyan University and still holds the school's career saves record. He's got a tough first-round match against his boss, Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.
"One of these two guys will be out in the first round," said Sveum, flanked by Hoyer and Epstein at a news conference on Sunday at Fitch Park.
"Jed has good hand-eye coordination, but you can't tell whether he's swinging the bat or bunting," Epstein said. "He drives it like 160 down the middle."
Has he been practicing?
"No," Hoyer said, "but I can tell you, given my size, I bunted a fair amount in college. That was 17 years ago, and I'm a little rusty."
Competition will begin as soon as the Cubs paint the marks on a half field at Fitch Park.
Cubs: Don't read too much into Baez's first camp
MESA, Ariz. -- Highly touted prospect Javier Baez will be taking part in his first Major League Spring Training camp, but that doesn't mean the Cubs are reserving a locker for him at Wrigley Field this season.
"When a young guy's name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he's close to the big leagues," said Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations. "In this case, Javy's not. He's got significant development still ahead of him. We're really impressed by everything he's done, but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. ... He finished the year in high-A ball, and that's about where he's going to start."
Baez, 20, batted .333 with a .979 OPS, 10 doubles, 12 homers and 33 RBIs at Class A Peoria, and then batted .188 in 23 games at Class A Daytona. He also took part in the Arizona Fall League until a freak thumb injury ended his season.
For now, Baez, the Cubs' first-round Draft pick in 2011, will stay at shortstop, although fans may see him play some second base in Cactus League games just to get him at-bats.
"He's a shortstop, and he's going to play shortstop," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. "If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it'll be because of flat numbers. It's not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else -- that'll be a development question down the road."
The invite to the Cubs' big league camp was made to give Baez some insight into what it's about.
"It's nice for the fans to be able to see him, it's nice for us to be able to see him, but this is not about making the Major League team, this is about experience," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said.
Baez is one of the Cubs' potential impact players in the system. They're also going to be patient with highly touted outfielder Jorge Soler, who played at Class A Peoria. Epstein said their plan is to have players spend at least one year at Triple-A before they are promoted to the big leagues.
Marmol expected to be in Cubs camp on time
MESA, Ariz. -- Carlos Marmol, charged with domestic abuse by a woman in the Dominican Republic, is expected in Arizona on time and to attend Tuesday's first workout for pitchers and catchers.
Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said Marmol was expected to arrive in Arizona late Sunday. Cubs pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals on Monday at Fitch Park.
"Our understanding is he'll be on schedule," Epstein said Sunday.
Marmol appeared at a hearing Friday in the Dominican Republic regarding the case. According to the Dominican newspaper, El Nacional, a judge sent it to a higher court. No police charges have been filed against Marmol.
"It's the organization's responsibility to take all accusations of that nature very seriously," Epstein said. "We don't have all the information -- obviously, we weren't there -- but every piece of information we were able to gather backs up Carlos' story that he's guilty of no wrongdoing whatsoever and may in fact be the victim here if this case continues to be pursued like this. All we can do is evaluate it on the merits. We do expect this matter will be behind him shortly based on the way it's proceeding in the Dominican courts."
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.