MARYVALE, Ariz. – Storylines from the Cubs’ 2-1 loss to the Brewers in their Cactus League opener Thursday at Maryvale Baseball Park:
Center of Attention
Javy Baez, who’s adding center field to an impressive fielding resume in the infield, misjudged a shallow fly, sprinted late and had it go off his glove in the first inning for an error on his second fielding chance of the spring.
“I took a bad read and missed the ball,” he said. “But I don’t feel bad. I haven’t missed one ball all spring training [in practice]. It’s a good thing it happens now and not later.”
Baez said he feels comfortable in center, and team officials have talked since watching him in center during winter ball how impressive he has looked in the outfield.
“It doesn’t feel awkward,” Baez said. “But I think I’m too hyper back there. You’ve got a little more time out there. I’ve just got to relax.”
Can’t Spell Hendricks without a ‘K’
Projected fifth starter Kyle Hendricks struck out half the eight batters he faced in two innings of work, including back-to-back hitters after allowing a leadoff double in the third. All-Star Jonathan Lucroy followed that with a two-out single for the only run Hendricks allowed.
“It’s still early in spring, so hitters are a little behind. That could be have been why [four struck out],” said Hendricks, whose strikeout rate jumped to 8.4 per nine innings in his second season last year. “I felt pretty good. I was happy [with the outing].”
Brothers, Can You Spare a Spot?
Left-hander Rex Brothers, who saved 19 games with a 1.74 ERA for the Rockies just three years ago, is trying to win what likely would be an eighth bullpen job. He opened his bid with a scoreless sixth inning, striking out two with a walk and wild pitch.
Catcher Miguel Montero had two of the Cubs’ seven hits, including a double. And prospect Dan Vogelbach drove in the only run with a two-out ground-rule double to the opposite (left field) gap in the seventh.
Cubs vs. Angels, Mesa, 3:05 p.m., mlb.com audio, RH Pierce Johnson vs. RH Jered Weaver.