Cubs in wait-and-see mode with LaHair, Castillo

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Cubs in wait-and-see mode with LaHair, Castillo

MESA, Ariz. Bryan LaHair has waited years for this opportunity, to experience Opening Day in the big leagues for the first time, and now he has to deal with nagging back issues.

The Cubs will have LaHair take batting practice during Wednesdays workout at Wrigley Field and monitor how he responds after sitting out the final four games in the Cactus League. Even if the first baseman is scratched from Thursdays lineup, manager Dale Sveum expects him to be available sometime this weekend against the Washington Nationals.

Hes getting better every day, so well just see with the treatment, Sveum said before Tuesdays game against the Milwaukee Brewers. I dont think its a DL thing or anything like that, because hes got pretty good range of motion as far as rotation and all that. Its just the shooting pain.

I think hes had this before, like we all have. Once youve played a certain amount of time here, pretty much everybodys MRI will show some sort of a bulging disc.

The Cubs will fly out of Arizona on Tuesday without having made their final bullpen decisions. Non-roster players Rodrigo Lopez, Shawn Camp and Manuel Corpas are in the mix, along with Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo.

Sveum indicated the Cubs wont leave anyone behind, essentially carrying eight pitchers for seven spots, and again said theres a possibility the front office could add another arm.

That will be an 11th-hour decision, Sveum said. A lot of bullpens will (be that way) because of all the other stuff involved, the business side of things. Thats one thing you always have to kind of wait out.

Decision time is approaching on Castillo, a converted infielder from the Philadelphia Phillies organization who hasnt pitched above the Class-A level.

The velocity isnt quite what it was earlier in camp, Sveum said, but hes been pitching a lot more than he probably ever has, too. Thats one thing we had to eyeball. He had to get built up if hes going to be in that role (to) where he can pitch three innings, get to 50, 60 pitches once in awhile. He doesnt (have) the biggest frame in the world to put a workload on him, but hes got to get used to it.

Cubs, Theo Epstein agree to five-year contract extension

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USA Today Sports Images

Cubs, Theo Epstein agree to five-year contract extension

PITTSBURGH - On the verge of what could become a historic run through October and a period of sustained excellence at Wrigley Field, Theo Epstein has signed a five-year contract extension that will keep him overseeing baseball operations for the Cubs.

While no one expected Epstein to bolt from the best team in baseball and a comfortable family situation on the North Side, the president could have become a free agent and disrupted what's now regarded as a model organization in professional sports.

Epstein initially signed a five-year deal worth $18.5 million in October 2011, seeking a new challenge and a fresh start after building two World Series winners for the Boston Red Sox.

Through a series of shrewd trades, first-round picks and free-agent megadeals, Epstein has turned around a 101-loss team in 2012 and constructed a World Series favorite that has already won 101 games and a National League Central title this year.

Epstein and chairman Tom Ricketts are expected to speak with the media before Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

“In the five years under Theo’s leadership, he has brought in a strong executive team and acquired and developed some of the best players in the game," Ricketts said in a statement. "Now, the results are on the field.  My family and I have no doubt that we have moved closer to our goal of delivering Cubs fans the World Series championship they deserve.

"(This) ensures the baseball operations team assembled by Epstein will continue its remarkable tenure of building a consistent championship contender.”

12 Days of Cubs: The complete list

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12 Days of Cubs: The complete list

As the Cubs prepare for a postseason run toward their first World Series in 108 years, CSN is looking at the different parts that work together and have helped mold one of the best franchises in sports.

 

12 Days of Cubs: Social media

12 Days of Cubs: The team's growth

12 Days of Cubs: Beer vendors