Travis Wood sharp on chilly first day


MESA, Ariz. -- The first morning of workouts for Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers in Arizona felt a lot like opening day at Wrigley Field. The temperature started out at 39 degrees, but as players started the daily routines they will continue for the next seven weeks it started to warm up.

The pitchers and catchers were split up with the pitchers moving from station to station, going through drills such as fielding ground balls after pretending to throw a pitch. Catchers worked on the basics -- blocking balls in the dirt and zipping throws back to coaches. Pitchers will alternate taking bullpen sessions every few days.

Here are a couple of notes after Day 1:

  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum liked how pitcher Travis Wood threw on the first day.

    “The ball is coming out of Wood’s hand so much better than last spring,” Sveum said. “The way he’s spinning the ball.”

    Wood agreed he felt great after a winter of working on his command. If he doesn’t make the starting staff he could be in the bullpen. He’s no longer a player that “needs starts."

    “We have enough depth, so right now we’ll take the best seven guys in the bullpen, whoever it is,” Sveum said. “His development as a starter is pretty much over.”

  • The Cubs will have organizational meetings on Tuesday, during which they will discuss their minor league players and coaches.

    Team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, assistant GM Jason McLeod and Sveum will speak to the group.

    “Just go over all the pitching prospects with video and all that stuff,” Sveum explained. “We talk about the Cubs manual, go over all that and make sure we’re all on the same page with that... You’re trying to get the same message. That’s what the manual is all about.”

    The manual is a way for Cubs coaches to teach the same system throughout the organization. It’s especially important to their approach at the plate, as the Cubs turned over most of their minor-league hitting coaches this offseason. Though the manual is their guide, Sveum was quick to point out not everything is on paper.

    “You don’t take away coaching because there’s a manual,” he said.

  • Several position players showed up early to camp, including Anthony Rizzo, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, and Dave Sappelt. They're working out and taking batting practice. The full squad isn't due to report until Sunday.

    "What else are we going to do," Sappelt said. "Watch TV?"