Cub legends and HOFers return to spring training: ‘Nothing better than that’

MESA, Arizona – Famous former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe pressed into the back of the media scrum late last week and waved to the manager David Ross.

“Go ahead, Sut,” Ross said. “I’m sorry, he’s going to change ranks.”

Sutcliffe, suppressing a smile, had a problem with Ross.

For the first time in two years, the Cubs welcomed their host of guest instructors, a roster full of Cubs legends and Hall of Famers, back to spring training. Health and safety protocols at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic had limited authorized personnel at summer camp 2020 and spring training 2021.

“It’s the best,” Ross said of their comeback. “That’s the first thing I said when they arrived. I missed that. The players missed that. guys like Andre DawsonKnow, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg. When you’re able to introduce these guys, have these guys talking about baseball around your group, there’s nothing better than that.

For several days in a row, Ross used the team band before stretching out to read one of the special guest references.

Last Thursday, it was Williams’ turn. In Sutcliffe’s account, Ross told the group, “We’re going to be here a while because I’m reading Billy’s. It won’t take long tomorrow, I’m reading Sutcliffe’s.

Ross laughed when Sutcliffe interrupted his morning meeting with reporters to complain.

“His resume is a bit longer than yours,” Ross said. “When you got a statue, I was just telling the truth. I like to tell the truth.

Versatility Villar

New Cubs Player Jonathan Villar arrived at the camp during the weekend. He signed a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2023.

“He had a really great season last year,” Ross said of Villar, who played mostly third base but also shortstop and second for the Mets in 2021. certain versatility to get around.”

Against a left-handed pitcher, the Cubs could play Villar at third base and move Patrick Wisdom to the outfield to get more right-handed hitters in the lineup. Villar also gives them a left-handed bat against tough right-handed pitchers. The Cubs’ infielders are mostly right-handed hitters.

The Cubs have also made workload balancing a priority for intermediate players. Nico Hoerner, Nicholas Madrigal and Andrelton Simmons. Adding Villar makes this even easier.

Late arrivals

Pitcher of the Cubs Brailyn Marquez and Harold Ramirez have yet to report to camp, Ross confirmed Sunday. The manager announced last week that the two had been delayed due to travel complications.

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