Sveum, Bowden and the question marks around the Cubs

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Sveum, Bowden and the question marks around the Cubs

MESA, Ariz. Cubs executives thought there were enough media demands in this market to make potential managers meet with reporters as part of the interview process, just the way Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had set it up in Boston.

Its not uncommon for Dale Sveum to do four or five rounds of media interviews in a single day here in Arizona. The first-year manager puts a face to the narrative.

Less than two weeks to Opening Day, the story is whos in, whos out and whos on the bubble. The feeling throughout camp was that the Cubs want to see Chris Volstad and Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.

Sveum went a step further on Saturday when he appeared on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden, the former Cincinnati Reds general manager, and talked about the rotation beyond Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm.

Volstads been throwing the heck out of the ball, so Im not going to see that anything can change there, Sveum said on SiriusXM. That fifth spot Samardzija, (Randy) Wells, (Rodrigo) Lopez theyre all fighting (with) Travis Wood.

But Maholm and Volstad are throwing the ball too good and the command has been unbelievable this spring. So thats probably just the one spot thats open right now.

So it became news when Bowden went on Twitter and reported that Volstad has made the rotation. Afterward, when beat writers asked him about those comments in the managers office, Sveum (who was clearly annoyed) tried to clarify.

The Volstad thing obviously his name came up but theres nothing etched in stone there, Sveum said. I think what I said (was): Obviously, if he keeps throwing the ball the way hes throwing the ball, hes going to be hard to keep out of the rotation.

It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

The Cubs bullpen is also filled with question marks. Kerry Wood hasnt appeared in a Cactus League game since March 18. Sveum said theres no issue.

Were just mainly backing him off (before) getting him a couple more outings before the season starts, Sveum said. The back flares up once in awhile, but thats not a concern now. Hes fine.

The MRI came back negative on Marcos Mateo no ligament damage but he wont throw a ball for around 10 days, taking him out of the Opening Day mix. Mateo is said to be experiencing something similar to the right elbow soreness he felt when he was shut down last July.

Sveum has been asked about the pitching staff for five weeks now, and indicated that hed make some announcements around Wednesday.

On Twitter, Bowden said that Sveum told him the bullpen will include Wood, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, Rafael Dolis and Casey Coleman. Sveum told the Chicago media that Colemans name wasnt even mentioned in his conversation with Bowden.

Sveum has repeatedly said that Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo a converted infielder who has never pitched above A-ball has impressed the organization with his poise and command. Carrying Castillo on the 25-man roster and not returning him to the Philadelphia Phillies is a possibility.

Hes obviously (made us think) this could be a reality, Sveum said.

Theres no disputing that the 24-year-old Dolis has opened eyes and could emerge as a key bullpen piece.

Dolis has had a great camp, just unbelievable stuff, 95 to 97 mph with power sink and command of a slider, Sveum told Bowden. Hes that guy (who) hitters dont like facing. Theres just too much movement, too much velocity and he keeps the ball down. Hes there, too, in that seventh-, eighth-(inning) spot.

The media storm always seemed to follow Carlos Zambrano, which makes it such a sharp contrast that he was traded for the low-key Volstad, whos 6-foot-8 and yet still blends easily into the background.

I dont have an account. Why? Volstad said when a reporter asked if hes on Twitter. I hadnt heard anything. I was getting ready to throw in a minor-league game. I wasnt really paying attention to any of that.

Volstad went six innings down the street at Fitch Park and has so far reinforced what the Cubs think he could be in their rotation. In 10 Cactus League innings, hes allowed one run and has seven strikeouts and no walks.

Its not like I can control the decision, Volstad said, but I feel pretty good where Im at right now.

Watch: Ben Zobrist belts 'Let It Go' at Disneyland

Watch: Ben Zobrist belts 'Let It Go' at Disneyland

In case you were wondering whether Ben Zobrist knows all the words to "Let It Go," he does.

The Cubs' All-Star second baseman spent at least part of the team's off day with his family at Disneyland, and he posted this Instagram video of him and his daughter screaming along to the song from the movie "Frozen."

Check it out:

Some great family time for Zobrist. His wife has a challenger for the family's best singer. But not really.

Hank Aaron to follow Michael Jordan as honorary captain at Michigan

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Hank Aaron to follow Michael Jordan as honorary captain at Michigan

Back in June, Jim Harbaugh asked Hank Aaron if he'd be an honorary captain at a Michigan football game this season.

Aaron has taken him up on it.

A look at Michigan's official website revealed to the Internet that one of the greatest baseball players of all-time will be the honorary captain for Michigan's Homecoming game against Illinois on Oct. 22.

Harbaugh chatted with Hammerin' Hank and donned a No. 44 Braves jersey during a stop in Atlanta on his whirlwind satellite-camp tour this summer, with Aaron sporting a Michigan hat.

Aaron will follow Michael Jordan, another all-time great who will serve as Michigan's honorary captain for the season-opener against Hawaii.

But while Jordan's connection to Michigan is all business — the Wolverines are the first football team to be outfitted by Jordan Brand — Aaron has a different reason to visit Ann Arbor, as his granddaughter attends the university.

(h/t Wolverine 24/7)

CSN to feature one inning of Vin Scully during Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers game

CSN to feature one inning of Vin Scully during Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers game

Baseball fans are in for a treat when they tune in to CSN for Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers broadcast.

CSN will carry the live audio call for one inning of Los Angeles Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully's final Cubs-Dodgers game. CSN will have the SportsNet LA audio feed with Scully's live game call during the third inning.

Scully, in his 67th and final year of calling Dodgers games, has earned multiple awards during his career including the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, along with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Leading up to Sunday's telecast, fans are encouraged to post their favorite memories of Scully by using #VinOnCSN on Twitter. CSN will also feature a select number of tweets on air during the telecast.

In honor of #VinOnCSN, check out Scully's iconic speech from "Field of Dreams" in the video below.