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Spring Training Notebooks

Spring Training Notebook: Excitement on eve of Cubs’ first full-squad workout

2 months agoAndy Martinez

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MESA, Ariz. — After five days of pitchers’ and catchers’ workouts, Monday represents the official first full-squad workout for the Cubs.

With the entire roster already in Arizona, Monday feels more like another day than a momentous day in the baseball calendar.

“Again, the most important thing is we walk off the field all healthy again,” manager Craig Counsell said. “But there is some ceremony to it. Most importantly, it’s a day when the whole organization is together. That’s what I think the most important thing is about it and that’s important.”

Don’t expect a big “rah-rah” speech from Counsell on day 1. For him, it’s about keeping the same approach he’s had this whole week.

“Yeah, I’m gonna talk,” Counsell said. “I really think it’s how do we interact every day that becomes the motivation. That’s what becomes of it. We’re not filming a movie tomorrow, right?”

But will there be some kind of show? Can a surprise player arrive at camp Monday, a la Dexter Fowler in 2016?

“Not my focus right now,” Counsell said. “Full squad workouts are a new challenge for the coaching staff. We add some new energy into the building with all the position players. That’s the easy part to be excited about and look forward to tomorrow and that’s really all I’m looking forward to.”

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A managerial first

In seasons as a manager, there’s not a whole lot of things that Counsell hasn’t experienced.

He has a first with the Cubs: managing a Japanese player. With Seiya Suzuki and Shota Imanaga, Counsell will have two at various points in their careers in the States.

“It’s new for me, for sure,” Counsell said. “It’s certainly different and there are challenges, for sure, you respect them and just we’re trying to cover everything without overloading them, I think in Shota’s case is the best way to say it.”

Suzuki is entering his third season and seems to be really adapting and coming into his own. Imanaga, on the other hand, will enter his first season in the U.S. and with that come some adjustments.

“The pitch clock is new to him,” Counsell said. “The rules that were instituted last year, we kind of spent some time on those already. I think it’s going well, but I think it’s on us as a coaching staff and as an organization to provide a level of support that makes them feel prepared.”

Quick hits

  • Lefty Jordan Wicks and righty Caleb Kilian threw live batting practice to hitters on Field 1 at Sloan Park. Both threw a pair of simulated innings to Ian Happ, Miles Mastrobuoni, Christopher Morel, Yan Gomes and Miguel Amaya. Wicks had a pair of strikeouts in the outing.
  • The big hit of live batting practice came in Kilian’s first inning, where Morel hit a ball to the right-center field wall to end the frame.
  • After workouts ended, Morel went over to the half field behind the agility field to get some extra work in at third base.

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