Sunday, February 23, 2014
Cubs notes: Olt 'seeing' just fine
By Jesse Rogers
MESA, Ariz. -- Baseball players get asked it all the time, but for Chicago Cubs third base prospect Mike Olt the question has more meaning.
“How are you seeing the ball?”
Olt had vision problems last spring, which helped derail his season with the Texas Rangers before he was traded to the Cubs. He didn’t fare much better at Triple-A Iowa, hitting .168 in 39 games.
All that’s behind him now.
“I don’t mind answering that anymore,” Olt says. “Last year was so stressful because we didn’t know what was going on. I don’t mind answering that this year because I’m better.”
Olt has only taken batting practice against coaches and a few rips against Cubs pitchers, but already he knows he feels better than a year ago. Now it’s about finding his swing again -- he hit 28 home runs at Double-A for Texas in 2012.
“I haven’t had any problems so far,” he said.
Olt has been taking ground balls at first base as well at third to make himself more versatile.
Renteria ready for games: The Cubs having been going hard since the beginning of camp so manager Rick Renteria is asking his players to back off in advance of Cactus League play, which begins on Thursday.
“Workouts have been great but I think everyone is getting anxious to get in there and feel a game,” he said Sunday. “I’d rather pull someone back, then try and get them going. Great work but let’s measure ourselves. Not only the young guys, but some of the veterans are going after it pretty hard.”
The Cubs will play an intra-squad game on Wednesday at their new stadium with minor league starter Kyle Hendricks facing Eric Jokisch. Jeff Samardzija is slated to pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Renteria has yet to announce any other lineup or pitching schedules.
Castillo impressed: Catcher Welington Castillo was asked to name a pitcher or two who have impressed him over the first two weeks of camp
“I had to face (Arodys) Vizcaino,” Castillo said. “The ball came out really good. You don’t see power pitches have that command. His velocity is amazing. He’s something special.”
“I see Edwin (Jackson) way different than last year. More confident, better execution. I think he’s going to have a good year.”