Notes: Vizcaino to throw Wednesday

February, 25, 2014
2/25/14
3:54
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. -- It might just be an intrasquad game, but Wednesday will still be a big moment for Chicago Cubs prospect Arodys Vizcaino.

[+] EnlargeArodys Vizcaino
Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesAfter two injury-plagued seasons, Arodys Vizcaino is looking forward to getting back on the mound Wednesday during an intrasquad game.
He hasn't thrown competitively at this level since 2011, missing the past two seasons with arm problems. He was in spring training last year but didn't get into any action as he was shut down with bone chips in his elbow.

"I want to show them I can pitch," Vizcaino said Tuesday afternoon. "My arm feels great. No problem."

Vizcaino has been lighting up the radar gun and popping catcher's mitts with his bullpen sessions. He's still listed among the Cubs' top 10 prospects despite missing so much time. He's one of nine pitchers scheduled to throw in the six-inning game in which manager Rick Renteria says he'll use most of his roster.

"Everyone is going to be participating," he said. "The veteran guys want to face some pitching before everything starts."

Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch will be the starters on Wednesday with Neil Ramirez, Tsuyoshi Wada, Armando Rivero, Brian Schiltter, Marcus Hatley, Chang-Yong Lim and Vizcaino pitching as well.

Fergie talks: Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins addressed both the major and minor league rosters as a group on Tuesday morning.

"It was nice to have him out there," Renteria said. "He talked to everyone. He brings in a different perspective."

Cubs pitchers got the most out of the session as some were awed by some of Jenkins' statistics. Vizcaino was amazed by a 325-inning, 37-walk season in 1971. Jenkins is available for advice and Vizcaino is planning on getting some.

"He showed me how to throw a slider," Vizcaino said. "I don't throw a slider. I want to throw one."

Samardzija not a fan of rule changes: Count Jeff Samardzija as one who believes there are too many rule changes making pro sports softer. He's against banning home plate collisions, and he won't wear protective head gear being offered to pitchers for the first time.

"That's what makes this game," he said. "No one is making you play this game. You signed up for it yourself. I know the consequences of being out on the mound, 60 feet away with big (sticks) hitting line drives back (at me). I'm going back way back like old NHLers not having to wear a helmet ... You're not forced to play professional sports, you choose to do it. And you also bring the consequences that come along with it."

Sliding practice: The Cubs are scheduled to practice sliding on Wednesday morning. It's good timing as the league just announced new rules to help avoid collisions at home plate.

"You can't use your hands or elbows or upper torso to go after a catcher," Renteria said.

Renteria attended a meeting of managers on Monday, helping clarify new rules including the collision issue. He says it will be a work in progress but the biggest change will be by the runner trying to avoid contact.

"Guys that need work on sliding we'll target and do more as spring progresses," he stated.

Fujikawa on the mound: Injured pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa took another step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery, throwing off a mound for the first time this spring. He threw 20-25 pitches.

"He gave me the thumbs up that it came out well," Renteria said.

Promotional schedule: The Cubs released their promotional schedule for the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. At all Friday home games the team will give away a different Bobblehead including a limited-edition Babe Ruth "called shot" Bobblehead (May 16), a Gayle Sayers Bobblehead (July 11), a Kerry Wood 20-strikeout Bobblehead (Aug. 22) and a Greg Maddux 3,000 career strikeout Bobblehead (Sept. 5). The Cubs plan on celebrating the 100th anniversary all season highlighted by the "100th anniversary game" on April 23. Replica Chicago Federals Jerseys will be the giveaway that day. The Federals were the original team to use Wrigley Field in 1914.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167