Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Friday vs. Rockies

Friday will mark a week since Suzuki arrived in Cubs camp after signing a five-year deal.

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Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki flips a water bottle after taking live batting practice at the Cubs Spring Training facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki flips a water bottle after taking live batting practice at the Cubs Spring Training facility in Mesa, Arizona.

John Antonoff/Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — New Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki is scheduled to make his spring-training debut Friday, when the Cubs play the Rockies at Sloan Park. 

Manager David Ross made the announcement Wednesday, adding that Suzuki will start in right field.

“He looks really good,” Ross said earlier this week.

“I think the main thing is you don’t have access and have live pitching and real reps [in the offseason]. You hit in the cage. He’s looked in great shape, worked out really hard. I think he just likes to hit a lot; it’s just his personality.” 

Friday will mark a week since Suzuki’s arrival in camp after he signed a five-year, $85 million contract. Paired with the posting fee the Cubs owe to Suzuki’s Japanese club, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, his deal was the fifth-largest financial commitment in Cubs history. 

“He’s a power hitter who makes really good swing decisions and doesn’t swing and miss a lot,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said during Suzuki’s introductory news conference last week. “So that’s a really good place to start. He also plays really good defense in right field with a strong arm. He’s a good baserunner.”

Suzuki jumped into live batting practice from Day 1, even as the Cubs made it clear that they wouldn’t rush him.

“The live BPs, it looks like his timing’s getting ready,” Ross said Tuesday. “We’re ready to see some action here shortly.”

Arbitration reaction

Catcher Willson Contreras said he talked with his agent twice Tuesday, the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with any unsigned arbitration-eligible players. 

“I was pretty satisfied with what he said,” Contreras said. “That’s their job; they’re going back and forth. I’m doing my job. That is, come here, be happy, enjoy everything that I can the most that I can. That’s one thing I can control.”

The parties did not come to an agreement, with a $1.25 million gap between the salaries they filed. The next step is to schedule a hearing. Though the system allows for teams and players to strike a deal between the exchange deadline and the hearing, the Cubs are not expected to go against the norm to do so.

Outfielder Ian Happ, the Cubs’ other arbitration-eligible player, did settle Tuesday. 

“It was good to go through the process and come to an agreement,” Happ said. “I don’t have to go back to a courtroom. Just being able to have that clarity going into the season was good.”

Cubs 5, Athletics 4

Stroman stays on track

Check off another step in right-hander Marcus Stroman’s progression. He threw close to 50 pitches in two-plus innings.  

“Everything felt good,” Stroman said Wednesday. “The action on it was great. You’re definitely more happy with feeling good coming out of these starts than the results.”

The results were two runs and three hits. 

Debutants

Happ made his 2022 spring-training debut after undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow in February. Happ joined the lineup as the designated hitter, giving his elbow a break from throwing. He went 0-for-2 but drew a walk and scored a run. 

Reliever Rowan Wick, in his first spring-training game of the year, threw a hitless inning. Wick is in the Cubs’ late-inning reliever mix, even after an influx of veteran arms. 

Davis returns

Two days after getting hit in the right knee with a pitch, Cubs top prospect Brennen Davis returned to the lineup. He started in right field and went 0-for-2.

Injury update

First baseman Frank Schwindel has been dealing with lower-back tightness, Ross said.

Ross said Schwindel was “feeling better every single day,” but the Cubs are taking a cautious approach with his recovery. He left Sunday’s game early and hasn’t appeared in a game since. 

On deck

Cubs at Angels, Tempe, 3:10 p.m., Marquee, Justin Steele vs. Jonathan Diaz.

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