Friday, March 2, 2012
Cubs' future on display in intrasquad game
By Doug Padilla
MESA, Ariz. -- For the relatively small crowd that did attend Friday, they not only got a peek into a Chicago Cubs intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park, they might have been able to see all the way into the future.
Outfield prospects Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur were the highlights as they guided their team to a 10-4 victory Friday over a Cubs team made up largely of everyday players.
Jackson was 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs and two runs scored, leading off the game with a home run against Travis Wood. Szczur was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, double and six RBIs while also scoring two runs, including one from second base on a sacrifice fly to right field.
“It was definitely good to be out in the outfield with Jackson,” Szczur said. “I’ve never played with him before. It’s supposed to be the future and hopefully it is. It was fun. I had an awesome time today.”
Both are long shots to break camp with the team, but have made their presence felt -- and the Cactus League schedule hasn't even started.
“I’m more prepared than I have been coming into a season,” Jackson said. “I’m showing up to camp early and the hard practices we’ve had in the last couple of weeks have really prepared us for the spring and season.”
After Jackson’s home run to lead off the game, Szczur singled to right. While on second base two batters later, Reed Johnson lifted a fly ball to right field that was wind-aided. David DeJesus caught the ball while slamming into the fence in front of the Cubs dugout.
Szczur was off and running after the catch and when DeJesus took a beat to compose himself, he picked up speed and headed for home, scoring just ahead of the throw to the plate.
“You guys saw us out there doing base running [in camp],” Szczur said. “I think that’s what helped a lot. I cut down my corners and [manager] Dale [Sveum] has been doing an awesome job, [base-running coach] Dave [McKay] has been doing an awesome job. I think that helped out and that’s why I scored. Tony [Campana] scored too because he made an awesome turn and it helped out. It shows that base running does help.”