Cubs rotation battle: Proper-hander Javier Assad a ‘true pitcher’


MESA, Ariz. – Cubs right-hander Javier Assad landed a curve ball on the within half of the plate in opposition to the Rangers’ Jared Walsh for a known as third strike to finish his outing.

Assad, who’s competing for a rotation spot to open the season, held Texas to at least one run in 3 2/3 innings Sunday and recorded 4 strikeouts.

“He’s a real pitcher,” supervisor Craig Counsell stated. “And once I say that, meaning, expert at studying swings, and adjusting pitch to pitch, and making good decisions inside that house, which is simply onerous to do. And usually, one thing we assign to expertise. At a younger age, I believe he does that actually effectively.”

The Cubs have their 4 candidates for the final two spots within the rotation – right-handers Assad and Hayden Wesneski, and lefties Drew Smyly and Jordan Wicks – lined up in order that any of them may slot into the open begin days whereas remaining on a standard five- or six-day schedule.

Smyly is predicted to make the Opening Day roster, in a single position or one other. The opposite three even have the choice of starting the season in Triple-A Iowa to remain stretched out as beginning depth.

“We’re all nice teammates,” Assad stated via workforce interpreter Fredy Quevedo. “We’re all nice pitchers, and I imagine that every one among us within the group of these guys has the flexibility to be in that. So, we’re there supporting one another.”

Assad has discovered success each as a starter and multi-inning reliever. The Cubs will seemingly lean on that versatility once more this 12 months.

“We’re seeking to get 27 outs,” Counsell stated. “And it does not actually matter how we get them. And generally, to enhance one another, we now have to do it in several methods, to benefit from one another’s strengths. Javy places himself in a spot to have the ability to do this. That is going to make him extra invaluable to everyone else and to the group.”

Taillon provides context

Cubs right-hander Jameson Taillon nonetheless isn’t positive the precise root of the low again tightness that can seemingly land him on the injured listing to start the season. He stated he’s damage his again twice earlier than, deadlifting in 2019 and touchdown a squat soar awkwardly in 2022.

This time, he wakened with a stiff again the morning of his first scheduled Cactus League begin a couple of week in the past. He felt good to start his pregame routine, however half means into his heat up on the mound, he felt one thing “tweak.”

“Why did I get up sore that day?” he stated Sunday, his first time addressing the media since his harm. “May very well be decrease physique stuff like that [calf soreness I experienced earlier in camp]. I additionally was throwing plyo balls the day earlier than and slipped and fell. So possibly that put me in a compromised spot. Not 100% positive. However we’re attacking as a complete factor, not simply treating the again. We’re doing numerous various things to attempt to forestall it from taking place once more.”

Taillon is focusing on Tuesday or Wednesday for his first bullpen session for the reason that harm. And he hopes he’ll solely want a couple of minimal 15-day IL stint to construct as much as a starter’s workload.

“I advised them, ideally, I might be prepared for a pair innings on Opening Day,” he stated. “I’m of their ear about it. However I must construct as much as 100 pitches. So, yeah, I am focusing on the minimal period of time, and if one thing loopy occurs, I advised them, I will be taking good care of enterprise, and I will be prepared in the event that they want me.”

Camp cuts

The Cubs trimmed their spring coaching roster to 42 gamers on Sunday. They optioned two gamers to Triple-A Iowa: right-hander Keegan Thompson and first baseman Matt Mervis. They assigned three non-roster invitees to minor-league camp: right-hander Cam Sanders, catcher Bryce Windham and infielder Chase Strumpf.


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