MESA, Ariz. -- The most overwhelming feeling Dale Sveum had on his first day of workouts as the Chicago Cubs manager was that it was a long time coming.
“It feels like I got hired two years ago,” Sveum said.
Most of that feeling came from the anticipation of getting started. Then when the first day of workouts did arrive, the Cubs were in meetings all morning and didn’t take the field until the afternoon.
So began Sveum’s process of learning about his players first-hand instead of watching them on video or observing them from the opposing dugout as he did for the last six seasons when he was in Milwaukee.
“When you do this for so many years, the most comfortable spot is when you’re on that grass at spring training and when the balls are being hit and caught and thrown and to be able to talk to everybody,” he said. “It’s officially baseball season, finally, and it’s almost comfortable.”
The Cubs went through the typical first day workout of pitchers taking fielding practice and then throwing bullpen sessions. The only pitcher not taking part was left-hander John Gaub, who has been dealing with back spasms all week but should be ready to go soon.
Sveum said he wasn’t as concerned with the veterans as he was with some of the younger pitchers.
“The younger guys you want to see how the ball comes out of their hand,” Sveum said. “You want to see their poise on the mound especially the first day. Some guys come in and try to impress and they get a little out of whack. Today I was actually impressed with a lot of young guys and guys I haven’t seen. The ball comes out of their hand really well. We have a lot of good arms in camp.”