How much is enough? Cubs face another shortened spring training

MLB and the players association reached a deal on a new CBA Thursday, telling players to report for spring training by Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

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Cubs infielders Nick Madrigal, Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom talk before batting practice at the MLBPA training site at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Arizona.

Cubs infielders Nick Madrigal, Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom talk before batting practice at the MLBPA training site at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Arizona.

John Antonoff/Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs infielders Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom took batting practice and fielded ground balls at Bell Bank Park on Thursday morning, not knowing that another day of negotiations between MLB and the Players Association would spark the biggest news of the offseason.

“Playing a full season, playing that many games in front of the fans is what it’s about,” Wisdom said when asked about the possibility of a full 162-game regular season. “I think my body’s ready for that, and I hope that we can get that done.”

He got his wish after the players association voted to accept the owners’ latest proposal on Thursday.

Sunday becomes the new spring-training reporting date for players other than those delayed by visas, multiple outlets reported. And Opening Day will be April 7, leaving a little over 3½ weeks in between.

How much spring training is enough to be ready for the regular season?

“That’s more of a question for the pitchers,” Hoerner said. “What we did in 2020 with the three-week buildup was definitely fast. I did feel ready to play coming off of that. But with the amount of injuries we’ve had in the last couple years, I do think that, more than timing as a hitter or anything else, making sure that especially the stars in our game are healthy and ready for a full season . . . should be the biggest priority.”

From a starting pitcher’s perspective, Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks estimated earlier this week that he could make do with four turns through the rotation in spring training.

“We’re down here throwing a lot,” Hendricks said after a bullpen session Tuesday. “So, I bet your first outing you can maybe start at around three innings. . . . You want to be able to go at least six [by the end]. If you’re starting the season not fully up and not being ready for a full load, then from Day 1 you’re already putting stress on the bullpen. And it’s a long season, so it starts adding up quick.”

Spring-training games are reportedly scheduled to start late next week, which would leave enough time for four turns through a five-man rotation.

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