Chicago Cubs: bunt contest

Castillo advances in bunt contest

March, 5, 2012
Padilla By Doug Padilla
MESA, Ariz. -- Days after being anointed the favorite among the final 16 participants in the Cubs' bunt tournament, minor-league catcher Steve Clevenger was eliminated.

With guys like Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood knocked out, both by Dale Sveum, the new Cubs manager anointed his young catcher as the guy to beat. Instead Welington Castillo moved into the quarterfinals Monday along with Jeff Beliveau, Casey Coleman and Adrian Cardenas.

Four more Sweet 16 matchups are set for Tuesday. The championship match is scheduled for March 16.

Sveum has a match upcoming against Paul Maholm in the pitchers' bracket, while Jeff Samardzija takes on Randy Wells. In the position players' bracket, Joe Mather will take on Starlin Castro, while Jeff Baker takes on David DeJesus.

It was Sveum himself that called Clevenger the best of the remaining bunters, while making himself a No. 2 seed. Wells and Coleman also appear to be the class of the remaining participants.

On this past weekend's edition of Talkin' Baseball on ESPN 1000, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein weighed in on the bunt tournament.

“It accomplishes a lot of different things at the same time," Epstein said of the event invented by Sveum when he was a minor-league manager in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. “And it's significant that it's a bunting contest because that's about as fundamentally important and simple as you can get. That's something we need to get better at so we're practicing technique and rewarding players for doing the right thing."

Castillo top scorer on Day 1 of bunt tourney

February, 23, 2012
Padilla By Doug Padilla
[+] EnlargeLendy Castillo
Doug Padilla/ Lendy Castillo was the high-scorer on Day 1 of the bunt contest with 540 points.
MESA, Ariz. -- Yeah, this Cubs bunt contest probably has received too much attention so far, but since it was written about, talked about and Tweeted about -- ad nauseam it seems -- it’s kind of hard to ignore it.

So the brief wrapup of the opening day Thursday, where eight matchups were contested, is that Casey Coleman not only won his match, but he appeared to have the ability to advance far into the bracket.

For those who haven’t heard, the Cubs are conducting a 64-person contest where bunts are scored using a grid painted onto the grass of a practice field. There is a 32-person bracket for pitchers (that includes manager Dale Sveum and strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss), and a 32-person bracket for position players.

Each player is allowed eight bunts over three rounds or innings.

Aside from Coleman, other first-round winners were Jeff Beliveau, Lendy Castillo, Trey McNutt, Rafael Dolis, Dae-Eun Rhee, Chris Rusin and Scott Maine, who scored 40 points on his final bunt attempt to rally and eliminate Blake Parker.

Castillo, a Rule 5 pickup this winter, had the high score of the day with 540 points.



Jason Hammel
8 2.98 104 108
BAS. Castro .287
HRA. Rizzo 30
RBIA. Rizzo 71
RA. Rizzo 81
OPSA. Rizzo .889
ERAT. Wood 4.72
SOJ. Arrieta 135