The Rundown: Lester Struggles, Cubs Cut Roster Down to 53

Jon Lester had his first rough outing with the Cubs yesterday in the 7-0 loss against the Padres. And even though it’s just Spring Training, he wasn’t happy about it.

Lester gave up six runs on seven hits in only 3.1 innings. He also surrendered two home runs and a walk.

“That’s the biggest thing when you have starts like that is being able to minimize damage and make the pitches when you have to,” Lester told Carrie Muskat. “Today was not that case.”

In three spring starts, the Cubs new ace has thrown to all three catchers. Yesterday was Welington Castillo’s turn.

I don’t think we can read too much into a correlation between Lester’s performance and Castillo being behind the plate. However, I did find this quote interesting:

“‘Welly’ came in a couple times in the dugout and apologized for some stuff, and I don’t know what he was getting at.”

In all likelihood, Castillo won’t be with the Cubs come Opening Day, but it won’t be because of any compatibility issues with Lester. The Cubs simply don’t have room for him on the roster, with veterans Miguel Montero and David Ross acquired in the offseason.

Castillo has had a nice spring at the plate, sporting a .368/.400/.421 line. Some team should be desperate enough to take a chance on him (Arizona?).

‘Congratulations, the rest of you made the team! … Except you, you and you.’

Yesterday the Cubs assigned eight players to minor league camp:

* RHP Corey Black
* LHP Hunter Cervenka
* RHP Pierce Johnson
* C Rafael Lopez
* RHP Armando Rivero
* RHP Donn Roach
* INF Christian Villanueva
* INF Logan Watkins

The most notable name is probably Johnson, arguably the Cubs’ second best pitching prospect behind C.J. Edwards. He appeared in two games this spring, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up only one hit.

I thought Roach might stick around a bit longer, but he struggled in three spring appearances, giving up four runs and seven hits in three innings. Regardless, he probably wasn’t going to grab one of the final spots in the bullpen anyway.

The Cubs’ spring roster now stands at 53.

Other notes

* RHP Jacob Turner received a second opinion on his elbow, and it confirmed last week’s diagnosis of a mild flexor strain and bone bruise. He will open the season on the disabled list, according to Carrie Muskat. It sounds like the plan will be for him to rest his arm for four to six weeks before throwing again. I hope Turner is able to recover and be able to make an impact for the Cubs this year. I like his upside.


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