6/5/2013 8:20 P.M. ET
Cubs struggling to get lead to closer Gregg
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols beat the Cubs on Tuesday, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth off Carlos Villanueva, who threw a pitch he wasn't supposed to.
"We were not supposed to even come close to calling or throwing that pitch in that situation," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after the game about the 89 mph fastball. "It's the human factor. Somewhere along the line, we lose the scouting report from the bullpen to the mound."
On Wednesday, Sveum was asked if he had considered having the bench call the pitches.
"You're not going to do that," he said. "There are suggestions that come from the bench, but you don't do it every pitch. That's part of the reason we put so much work into the advance reports and spend so much time.
"We're not the only victims. We see other teams and say, 'Why did they throw that pitch in that situation?'"
One of Villanueva's strengths is his ability to use all of his pitches and take advantage of a hitter's weaknesses. Pujols doesn't have many.
"He's come down to being more human, that's for sure," Sveum said. "At one point in his career, it's pitch around him, you walk him, you do all kinds of things because you don't want him to beat you. He's now been able to be pitched to."
The problem the Cubs are having is bridging the gap from the starter to closer Kevin Gregg. James Russell is one option for the eighth.
"There's no doubt I think about it a lot," Sveum said. "The bottom line is how to get to Gregg after the sixth inning."
Sveum likes upside of Cubs' options at No. 2
ANAHEIM -- The Cubs have the No. 2 pick overall in Thursday's First-Year Player Draft and have narrowed their choice to four players. Manager Dale Sveum has seen video and offered his opinion. Does he have a preference?
"They want the guy to be an impact player," Sveum said of the Cubs front office, including Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations. "Nothing's guaranteed, we all know that. The key to those high picks like that is it's easy to say, 'Make sure it's an impact player.' Whether it's a position player or a pitcher, you want him to be an impact player in a couple years when you're drafting that high."
The Cubs' final four includes pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Stanford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina.
"Appel is pretty ahead of the game as far as development," Sveum said. "Position players, sometimes you really don't know until they get a wood bat in their hands and play at a faster pace and play every day, and obviously are facing velocity and all that. The one thing about position players in the top five, 10 picks, is they've been pretty good."
Sveum said he might stop by the Cubs' war room Thursday when they make the pick. The Cubs are expected to make their pick around 6:15 p.m. CT Thursday. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m. CT, with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network.
Will the Cubs manager have the deciding vote?
"I'm sure there will be no consultation," he said, laughing. "I've already said my piece. That's their job."
He's given his scouting report on the quartet.
"As far as picking one guy, there's so much involved in that," Sveum said. "You've got a position player who has out-homered 200 Division I schools [in Bryant], and you've got a starting pitcher who maybe can step right in your rotation right now [in Appel], and you have a guy with a dominating fastball who can throw the ball by anybody at any time [in Gray]. You have Moran, who's a professional quality left-handed hitter who knows the strike zone.
"That's why those four guys are mentioned. They all have their qualities that could benefit in the long run."
As former first-rounder, Sveum recalls Draft jitters
ANAHEIM -- Dale Sveum was a first-round pick in the 1982 First-Year Player Draft, and he remembers the anxiety he felt back then.
"When that day comes, you remember what you were doing and how it impacted your life and [wondering] what team were you going to go to," the Cubs manager said Wednesday. "You're on pins and needles. There's obviously going to be a select 30, 40 guys who will go in the first round. You definitely think back on those days and if and when and what team you're going to be drafted by."
The Cubs have the second pick overall in Thursday's Draft. The three-day event begins with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m. CT, with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 11:30 a.m. CT, and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at noon CT.
Sveum was the Brewers' pick and wasn't taken until 25th. He thought he'd go higher.
"The Cubs had three first-round picks that year and basically deterred that [he would go higher] because they said I was going to go play football and told everybody I was going to play football," Sveum said.
The Cubs selected shortstop Shawon Dunston with the first overall pick, took shortstop Tony Woods 17th and outfielder Stan Boderick 27th.
The Draft brings mixed memories for Sveum.
"One of my best friends got stabbed the night before and we were in the hospital visiting him and lost track about what was going on in the Draft," Sveum said. "I walked into his hospital room and he said I got drafted by the Dodgers. I think he was on too much morphine. I called home, and my dad said, 'No, they just called and said you were drafted by the Brewers.'"
Sveum had a full-ride scholarship offer to play football at Arizona State. Instead, he signed with the Brewers for $107,000.
Cubs ponder impact of latest Biogenesis report
ANAHEIM -- Should it happen, having the 20 players allegedly linked to the Miami-area Biogenesis clinc suspended by Major League Baseball would have an impact on the other teams, as well.
"You're obviously going to deal with some impact players and some not-so-impact players on the roster," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday. "Those impact players have a lot to do with a lot of things."
For example, look how different the Brewers would be if they lost outfielder Ryan Braun.
"When you have 20 [players], it can impact the division," Sveum said.
No Cubs players have been mentioned in the reports by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" regarding the clinic, which is accused of supplying PEDs to baseball players.
"I'm sure it would be out there if there were," Sveum said. "It doesn't look like they're holding any names back."
• Six Class A Kane County players, including infielders Dan Vogelbach and Rock Shoulders, were named to the 2013 Midwest League All-Star Game, which will be played June 18.
Other Cougars players named to the Western Division team include outfielder Bijan Rademacher, and pitchers Tayler Scott, Felix Pena and Nathan Dorris. Vogelbach will start for the Western Division squad as the designated hitter.
This is the largest total of Cougars midseason All-Stars since 2009, when seven players were selected.
Shoulders leads the league with 12 home runs and was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for April. Vogelbach, ranked No. 11 among the Cubs' top prospects is the only Cougars player to play in all 55 games and leads the team with 37 RBIs.
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.