2/20/2014 4:09 P.M. ET
Cubs' entire schedule to be broadcast in HD
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs announced their 2014 regular-season television broadcast schedule, and for the sixth straight season, all 162 games will be available in high definition in the Chicago area.
WGN will televise the Cubs' March 31 season opener at Pittsburgh at 12:05 p.m. CT, and Comcast SportsNet will broadcast the next game, April 2 in Pittsburgh at 6:05 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Plus. WCIU will televise its first game on April 20, when the Cubs host the Reds at 1:20 p.m.
WGN will broadcast Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary game on April 23 against the D-backs.
Cubs games have been televised by WGN since 1948 and by WCIU since 2000. This will be Comcast SportsNet's 10th season televising the Cubs.
Len Kasper returns for his 10th season in the Cubs' television booth. and will be joined by analyst Jim Deshaies for his second season.
Olt sees things clearly in first live batting practice
MESA, Ariz. -- For Cubs third-base prospect Mike Olt, his first few swings on Wednesday were perfect.
Olt had struggled with vision problems, and finally got to face a pitcher instead of a coach throwing batting practice or a machine spewing balls.
"For my first at-bats in a long time, it's the best I've ever felt in Spring Training," said Olt, who faced right-hander Neil Ramirez. "I'm not even counting last year, but the year before that. I saw the ball really well."
Acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, Olt batted .213 at Triple-A Round Rock last season, but the Cubs feel they've corrected his vision issues. He's now taking allergy medication, which has helped clear things up for him.
Wednesday was his first test against a pitcher.
"I got in the box and I wasn't sure if I was going to swing or not, but I got in there and felt comfortable and saw the ball really well, took a couple swings and I feel like I'm ahead of schedule," he said.
Hendricks faces formidable hitting trio
MESA, Ariz. -- This is Kyle Hendricks' first big league camp, and the right-hander, who was the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, was challenged right away in his first live batting-practice session.
Hendricks had to face Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo and Starlin Castro, the club's top hitters.
"It's a pleasure to face them," Hendricks said Thursday. "You want to get tested, see where you're at."
Rizzo looked as if he was trying to clear the right-field fence and launch a ball onto the top of the batting cages with one swing against Hendricks.
"He was trying to get me -- that's bragging rights when you're facing your teammates like that," Hendricks said. "I threw some good pitches -- that was a good one, too. They're good hitters and you have to expect that sometimes."
It was a good test for Hendricks, who was a combined 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA in 27 starts last season with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
"When you see those guys coming up, you've got to compete," he said. "You're trying to work on stuff out there, but you also want to show what you can do against the best hitters."
Hammel already comfortable in new setting
MESA, Ariz. -- Jason Hammel is feeling right at home in Cubs camp, even though he's only been with the team for one week.
The right-hander, who signed a free-agent contract with the Cubs on Feb. 13, threw about 65 pitches in his first live batting-practice session on Thursday.
"His live BP was pretty impressive the time I was over there," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who watched a little of Hammel's workout. "He was obviously hitting the mitt and his command of the zone was down. He was very composed on the hill. He's been around a while. He's looking pretty good."
Hammel, who was the Orioles' Opening Day starter last season, said he was able to throw all of his pitches. Pitching coach Chris Bosio helped, too.
"[Bosio] gave me great tips today, giving me some things to work on," Hammel said. "George Kottaras was my catcher today, and we were right on the same page. Overall, the first few days, the week, it's been great and good so far."
• Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring after feeling some tightness in his right shoulder, still has yet to throw off a mound in camp. The right-hander was projected as the fourth starter but most likely will not be ready by Opening Day.
• Renteria isn't wasting any time. Infielders, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Darwin Barney, were on the field early Thursday for extra work.
• If fans see extra players at the spring facility this week, it's because there are some Minor League players taking part in a mini-camp. Among those participating are top prospects third baseman Jeimer Candelario and outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
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.