02/14/2013 5:18 PM ET
Sveum, coaches tour Cubs' new Spring Training complex
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum and Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa have talked fishing, or at least tried to. The Cubs will have a bass pond at their new Spring Training complex, scheduled to open in 2014. On Wednesday, Sveum and some of the other Cubs coaches and staff toured the construction site, which is located in west Mesa.
"It's going to be one heck of a place," Sveum said. "The designs and the pictures we saw, and the models we saw, it's going to be one special place. The weight room alone will be 9,000 square feet. The stadium looks really, really neat. It'll be really fun to move in there next year."
Will it make a difference in the Cubs' record?
"It's not going to make you win, it shouldn't," Sveum said.
But what it could do is help lure free agents to the Cubs who like the new set-up. Sveum helped with some of the planning.
"We basically did most of the cosmetic stuff that will go into the clubhouse," he said. "The designs were what they were and [they asked] what do we want here? Where do we want the emblem? Where do we want TVs? What kind of TVs? How big? All the little things that go into a clubhouse that a lot of clubhouses have now, like iPod [docking stations]."
Sveum isn't worried that the players will be spoiled by such perks.
"No, everybody else has it," he said. "All the other clubhouses and new stadiums are all very, very nice. We're just trying to keep up with the Joneses."
Baker doubtful, Feldman will work as starter
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, most likely will not be ready by Opening Day, and that Scott Feldman will be a starter and won't need to multitask as he did with the Rangers.
With Feldman securing a spot and Baker not being ready by April 1, that leaves one vacancy in the rotation. Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson are set, and Matt Garza also appears healthy after missing more than two months last year because of an elbow problem.
"There's an above average chance Baker is going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don't want to rush him," Sveum said Thursday. "There's no need for that. You have Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, Feldman and the other spot, and you never know -- there's no guarantees of any spots besides the top three. We'll let it all pan out and see what happens."
But asked about whether Feldman, who has pitched in relief and started for the Rangers, would be considered for the 'pen, Sveum said, "Feldman's a starter. He's going to be one of the starters."
Feldman was happy to hear that.
"That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come here, was to get the opportunity," Feldman said when told the news. "I'm not going to take anything for granted, and I'll keep working hard and try to improve all spring and carry that into the season."
The right-hander was 5-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 21 starts with the Rangers, and 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in eight games in relief.
"When you're on a team like that which has a lot of pitching, and you get hurt at the wrong time, that's what happened to me," Feldman said of last season. "I don't hold anything against them, it was just kind of the circumstances. ... I'm just glad to turn the page on that and am looking forward to the season here and being healthy."
He signed in November, and the Cubs continued to add pitchers after that, such as Jackson and Carlos Villanueva. That didn't faze Feldman.
"I want to be on a good team and every team that's successful has a lot of good pitching depth," he said. "Seeing some of the guys we were able to sign and seeing Garza come back and healthy now, I think it's going to be hopefully a good year and everybody can stay healthy."
Villanueva will likely be used in relief, Sveum said. That would give lefty Travis Wood an edge for the last rotation spot.
"There's competition, and we have a lot of time to see them and see what's going on," Sveum said.
Sveum expects that the team will finalize its rotation sometime between March 20 and 25.
Rizzo confident that Campana will succeed elsewhere
MESA, Ariz. -- As much as some Cubs fans hated to lose Tony Campana, Anthony Rizzo says the team needs more power than speed, and manager Dale Sveum is counting on the first baseman to provide that punch.
"I think it'll be good, a fresh start," Rizzo said Thursday of Campana, who was designated for assignment to make room for outfielder Scott Hairston. "I just told him to keep his head up. He's a good player. He'll be successful."
Campana is fast, but has had trouble getting on base consistently enough to utilize his speed.
"I can think of teams in my head right away who could bring [Campana] in," Rizzo said. "I think right now, our team isn't a fit for him. We need more power than speed."
The Cubs ranked 14th in the National League in slugging percentage and 12th in home runs last season. They would appear to need a little more pop in the lineup.
"You need power, there's no question about it," said Sveum. "When you put two-way players together who keep the line moving and you have six guys in your lineup capable of hitting 20 home runs, that's when you have an offense that can start rolling and can score a lot of runs."
Rizzo will be one of those counted on to provide the power. He hit 15 home runs and drove in 48 in 87 games last season with the Cubs.
"I've got all the confidence in the world to have him double what he did last year," Sveum said. "He came up and obviously did well and had a little hiccup for a 10-day span, but other than that he was pretty good the whole time. ... Will there be some bumps along the road? Of course there will be. [But if] you give Rizzo 600 plate appearances, there's going to be some damage done."
• The Cubs want to play more night games, but the topic was not discussed during a Chicago City Council meeting on Wednesday. The team currently plays 30 night games out of its 81 home dates.
"Me, personally, I like the day games," said first baseman Anthony Rizzo. "It's the routine I get in at home. I feel night games would throw me off a little bit. But if there are more night games, I'd get into that routine."
Does he see the ball better at night at Wrigley?
"I don't think I've played enough games to state my opinion yet," he said. "It doesn't matter, day or night, it's still baseball."
Last season, Rizzo batted .257 at night and .312 in day games.
• How serious is the Cubs front office staff taking the upcoming bunting tournament? Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, was among the personnel practicing on Thursday. Sixteen members of the front office will compete for one spot in the field of 64.
• Hector Rondon, the Cubs' Rule 5 pick, who is the only pitcher yet to report to camp, was expected in Mesa by Friday. He has been delayed due to visa problems.
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.