Jason Hammel became the latest Chicago Cubs pitcher who made the most of his final Spring Training start, getting tuned up for the regular season. Like the rest of the rotation, Hammel’s best start of the Spring was also his last start of the Spring.
Slated to be the Cubs’ No. 4 starter, Hammel has actually had a pretty solid preseason and closed it out with four innings of shut-out ball. Hammel allowed just two hits and struck out five. The veteran hurler, who is yet another reclamation project coming off a lost 2013, could be one of those special additions to the team that yield top prospects, assuming he can duplicate Saturday’s performance.
While Hammel’s performance was a positive for Cubs fans, there was another appearance in the lineup that should make Cubs fans truly happy. Starlin Castro made his Spring Training return in the preseason finale, days after proclaiming himself 100 percent and ready to go in the season opener.
Castro didn’t exactly light the world on fire in his return, going 0-for-2, but the fact that he was able to play and didn’t show any signs of injury is a big win for the team heading into Monday’s regular season kickoff.
Another player who Cubs fans are hoping will impress once opening day rolls around had a solid outing on Saturday. Ryan Kalish was recently named an official part of the 25-man roster and rewarded the team on Saturday with three hits in three at-bats and a run batted in. That RBI proved rather useful as the Cubs’ bullpen imploded late in the game, blowing an early 6-2 lead and eventually outlasting the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-8.
The next time Hammel takes the hill his outing will mean something and the Chicago Cubs hope it will translate to a win.