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Cactus League report: Seiya Suzuki withdraws from the WBC, while Oscar Colás focuses on hitting to all fields

Elvis Andrus stood out in his first Cactus League game this spring with a triple, walk and run scored for the White Sox in a 10-1 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Monday at Camelback Ranch.

Signed last week to take over at second base, Andrus made a diving catch on a soft liner in the fourth inning. The longtime shortstop is adjusting to the new position.

“I’m not 100% comfortable at second yet,” Andrus said. “But it was a pretty good first game.”

The Cubs lost both of their split-squad games: 12-4 at Sloan Park to the Cleveland Guardians and 3-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.

Jameson Taillon allowed three hits and two runs in 1⅔ innings against the Guardians in his Cubs debut. Ian Happ doubled and drove in two runs.

Caleb Kilian impressed with two perfect innings against the Diamondbacks, striking out Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Evan Longoria. The Cubs finished with two hits and lost on a walk-off three-run homer by Emmanuel Rivera.

Chicago Tribune baseball writers LaMond Pope, Meghan Montemurro and Paul Sullivan will be providing Cubs and White Sox updates throughout spring training.

Seiya Suzuki withdraws from WBC

Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki no longer will play for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic.

His left oblique injury forced him to withdraw from the WBC on Monday night. Cubs doctors reviewed the imaging of Suzuki’s oblique Monday after tightness caused him to miss the first three days of Cactus League games.

Team Japan plays its WBC opener in 10 days in Tokyo. Cubs manager David Ross and Suzuki are expected to discuss the decision Tuesday morning.

As the Cubs awaited feedback from doctors Monday, Ross didn’t want to speculate on Suzuki’s availability to play for Japan, in part because he hadn’t spoken to Suzuki before Ross addressed the media during the team’s morning stretch.

“I mean, obviously, when you have something like that pop up, you’re concerned, right?” Ross said. “And he wants to find out. And I think it’s really important to him to represent his country in the WBC. So we’re going to have conversations soon about what the imaging tells us and try to make some decisions after we talk to him and what’s best for everybody.”

If Suzuki misses extended time in camp because of his injury, Patrick Wisdom, Trey Mancini and Mike Tauchman are among the players who could get time in right field. However, Wisdom was scratched from starting at third base against the Diamondbacks because of left groin soreness. The Cubs want to be extra cautious with Wisdom because it’s early in spring training.

“We’ve got some guys that can bounce around,” Ross said. “That’s why we value the versatility. … (Nick) Madrigal was willing to play outfield. I think Yan (Gomes) would play outfield to get at-bats, so I take that with a grain of salt. We’ll get the guys that are best suited out there. Defensively, offensive matchups and put the best team on the field.”

Oscar Colás works on hitting to all fields

Sox prospect Oscar Colás wants power to be only part of his game.

His overall offense was on display last season at three minor-league levels, combining for a .314 batting average in 117 games.

Colás — competing for the opening in right field — took what the pitchers gave him Sunday and had two opposite-field singles in a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe.

“That’s part of my goal, part of the work I did during the offseason, try to hit to the opposite field and don’t pull the ball as much as I used to,” Colás said through an interpreter Sunday. “Seeing those results were good.”

Sox manager Pedro Grifol likes that mindset.

“He’s got to open up the field if he wants to hit in the big leagues,” Grifol said Monday morning. “He has the capabilities of doing that. He has a pretty good eye and controls the strike zone, but it’s really hard to just eliminate one side of the field and think you are going to have success on the other side.

“He’s worked really hard on opening up the field and becoming a good hitter all the way around with some pop.”

Pitch-clock confusion draws double violation

Cubs outfielder Brennen Davis wasn’t sure how to approach the situation.

Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Mantiply entered the game from the bullpen to begin the top of the third Monday, triggering the 2-minute, 30-second pitch clock. Mantiply was supposed to be done warming up with no less than 30 seconds left on the clock. But catcher Carson Kelly was the final out in the previous half-inning and was delayed getting behind the plate.

Mantiply kept warming up until the pitch clock ticked down to zero. Meanwhile, Davis stood off to the side watching Mantiply finish his throws. Because Davis wasn’t in the box and looking at the pitcher with at least eight seconds left, plate umpire Doug Eddings called a violation on both Mantiply and Davis, creating a 1-1 count to start the at-bat. Davis fouled out on the next pitch.

“I didn’t know I was supposed to enter the box even if that’s going on,” Davis said of Mantiply’s prolonged warmup. “I was like, what am I supposed to do?”

Davis experienced the pitch clock in the minor leagues last year.

“I think adjustments will be made and they’ll make it to where the game’s playable at a better pace,” he said.

José Ruiz ‘proud’ to represent Venezuela in WBC

José Ruiz concentrated on being more aggressive in the strike zone during Saturday’s Cactus League opener against the San Diego Padres.

“Attack the hitters,” the reliever told the Tribune through an interpreter Monday.

He went right to work, striking out Jantzen Witte looking on three pitches to begin the fifth inning at Camelback Ranch.

Ruiz allowed one hit in his scoreless inning. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA, 68 strikeouts and 11 holds in 63 appearances last season.

“He’s versatile,” Grifol said Sunday. “He’s durable. He’s throwing a two-seamer now. I saw him throw some really good right-on-right changeups out here in some of the live BPs.”

Ruiz, 28, is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. He’s also preparing for the World Baseball Classic, representing Venezuela. He reports to Miami on March 6.

“I feel proud to be able to represent my country,” Ruiz said. “It’s definitely a unique experience, a unique opportunity. We have such a great, talented group. It’s a very tough pool with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and there’s a lot of talent there.

“Being able to take the field with your countrymen and share that experience is something that’s going to be beautiful and I’m looking forward to it.”

Today’s games

  • Cubs at Brewers, 2:10 p.m., Marquee
  • White Sox at Diamondbacks, 2:10 p.m.

This day in spring training history

Feb. 28, 2004

The first controversy of many during the season erupted when Commissioner Bud Selig informed all major-league teams that non-baseball personnel would be restricted from clubhouses, and “there will be absolutely no exceptions to these regulations, and major-league clubs will be held responsible if they are not enforced.”

Julian Martinez, the personal assistant to Sammy Sosa, was one of the Cubs casualties.

“C’mon, dude,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Shoot, he was here before I got here. The rules are the rules, (and) we’re not clear of the rules, first. It’s going to affect a lot of people in Julian’s position. If the commissioner has a mandate or edict, you don’t have a choice.”

It was Sosa’s final year playing for the Cubs. Martinez eventually became a bullpen catcher for the Washington Nationals.

Feb. 28, 2015

New White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche brought his 13-year old son, Drake, to the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, where the teenager was given his own locker. Adam said he wanted Drake to get the same education he had when his father, Dave LaRoche, played for the White Sox and Adam was allowed inside the clubhouse.

“I didn’t really appreciate it at the time when I was that age,” Adam told Tribune reporter Colleen Kane. “I didn’t realize how cool that was and how those memories would be with me forever. … We were incredibly welcomed, which was neat, and I’m seeing the same thing with Drake — guys going out of their way to introduce themselves to Drake and take care of him.”

Drake also had a locker at U.S. Cellular Field, but one year later his clubhouse privileges were revoked by executive vice president Ken Williams, leading to Adam’s sudden retirement and creating a firestorm.

Pitcher Chris Sale said the players “got (bald)-faced lied to by someone we are supposed to be able to trust,” referring to Williams. “If we’re truly here to win a championship and come together … and win as a team, these issues don’t come up. Somebody walked out those doors the other day, and it was the wrong guy, plain and simple.”

What we’re reading this morning


“I got a lot of ‘Welcome to Chicago’ and stuff today, which was nice to hear. I haven’t had too much hate or anything on Twitter, which is nice. Everyone’s been really welcoming.” — Jameson Taillon on his first impressions of Cubs fans


Source: Berkshire mont

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