Clevenger upsets Campana in bunt contest

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs' camaraderie-building bunt tournament resumed Saturday after a day off, this time with position players taking their turn.

The first-round winners Saturday were Matt Szczur, Adrian Cardenas, Jonathan Mota, Blake Lalli, Brett Jackson, Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.

Clevenger’s victory was an upset of sorts since he eliminated Tony Campana, who was believed to be a favorite to win the 64-person competition. At least Campana himself believed he had a good chance to win it all, calling himself a favorite before the competition.

Campana’s boasting put most of his teammates squarely in the rooting section of Clevenger, who posted the second highest score of the day.

Scoring in the bunt tournament, which was invented by new manager Dale Sveum, is tallied by bunting into squares painted on the grass down the first- and third-base lines. There are areas for 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40 points. There are even 100-point circles to each side of the mound.

A final score is tallied over a series of 24 bunts.

“It’s been pretty anticipated -- me and Campana -- for a couple of days now,” Clevenger said. “I think it separates the good bunters from the guys who are fast that think they can bunt. It’s just all for fun. We’re having a good time out there just ragging each other and having fun.”

Campana made no excuses.

“This will make everybody better [bunters] I think,” Campana said. “I put down a lot of good bunts today, he just put down better ones.”

Campana was asked if he was OK getting booed, much in the same way Alfonso Soriano gets booed at home games when he’s struggling.

“I don’t mind getting booed,” Campana said. “Sori always told me they don’t boo nobodys, so…”

Sveum hopes his goal of building a better-bunting team is working.

“Yeah, it’s something that breaks up the monotony of spring training and gives them something to press for and look forward to,” said Sveum, who is also taking part in the tournament and has a first-round matchup with Kerry Wood.

“But the guys who are getting out at 7:30 in the morning practicing is kind of what it’s all about too. And then techniques get better and all that, but it will get really fun when it gets down to the Sweet 16.”