Although it’s only been four days, the Chicago Cubs are off to a good start for the 2013 Spring Training season.
The Cubs have won three of their last four games since kicking off pre-season baseball on Saturday afternoon, most recently defeating the Colorado Rockies today, 4-2.
Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson got his first start for Chicago today, giving up only two singles during two innings of work. Teammates Dave Sappelt and Christian Villanueva each backed up Jackson with a solo home run to put the Cubs on the board.
While the Cubs seem to be off to a strong start this spring, is it too soon for fans to get their hopes up for a better season? Maybe not.
It’s great that the team has a 3-1 record right now, but injuries to key players such as Matt Garza, Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters may prove to be a problem as we get closer to Opening Day. Luckily, Stewart and Vitters are not scheduled to be out longer than two weeks, but if Stewart isn’t ready to be back on the field by March 16, there’s a good chance the Cubs may cut him from the roster.
The sudden injuries to the Cubs’ two third basemen has presented an opportunity for Villanueva, Luis Valbuena, and Junior Lake to prove that they belong in the big leagues. As of right now, it seems like Villanueva may get the nod at third on Opening Day if Stewart and Vitters are unable to play.
“I’d be so happy if I got that job,” Villanueva said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum told Cubs.com that he was impressed with Villanueva so far and has already given the 27-year-old a spot on the 25-man roster. Valbuena and Lake also show promise for the Cubs infield. Both are both probably a bit too young and inexperienced to make the team this year, but they will definitely get some playing time during Spring Training.
It’s unfortunate that the Cubs’ veterans are dropping like flies due to injuries, but this is the time to let the rookies show what they can bring to this team in the not-so-distant future. Don’t roll your eyes at these youngsters just yet because who knows, they may be the what the Cubs need to have a winning season.