Cubs president Jed Hoyer not setting deadline for extension talks with Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner

Cubs spring training Day 1 notes: Codi Heuer could be heading for 60-day IL, Marcus Stroman applauds WBC.

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Cubs president Jed Hoyer says spring training is not a hard deadline for contract extension talks with Ian Happ.

Cubs president Jed Hoyer says spring training is not a hard deadline for contract extension talks with Ian Happ.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is not viewing the first day of spring training as a hard deadline for extension talks with Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner’s camps.

“We’ve had good dialogue with both sides,” Hoyer said Wednesday. “We’re not going to cut it off because we’re here today. Like I said, my preference is really not to get towards the end of spring training and get to a place where I feel like it’s affecting the preparation and mentality, I would say, for the season.”

He’d shared that sentiment earlier in the offseason, and he said he’s also communicated that preference to the players’ representatives. Hoyer wouldn’t divulge how much progress had been made in extension talks, per team policy, but he characterized them as “positive conversations.”

Hoerner sill has two years of arbitration left, so even if the Cubs don’t reach an extension agreement with him this spring, they could come back to the table. Happ, on the other hand, is in his final year of club control.

Injury decisions

The Cubs may put reliever Codi Heuer on the 60-day injured list to start the season, Hoyer revealed Wednesday.

Heuer is working back from Tommy John surgery and was targeting late June or early July for his return. But he has shown good progress. He threw off a mound Wednesday as one of seven pitchers scheduled for bullpens on the first day of spring training.

Starter Kyle Hendricks’ timeline is less certain as he works back from missing the last three months of the 2022 season with a shoulder strain. He’s in the long-toss portion of his throwing program, approaching the next step: throwing off a mound.

“We know he’s going to be delayed; we’ll have a lot of discussions about how much,” Hoyer said. “But certainly, we’re prepared to start the season without him, and we’ll see when he comes back. But the most important thing is getting back to pitching like Kyle Hendricks, and we’re willing to wait a little while for that.”

Stroman applauds WBC

Right-hander Marcus Stroman isn’t just excited about returning to the World Baseball Classic, this time representing Puerto Rico after winning a championship and MVP award with the United States in 2017.

“The WBC experience is the best experience I’ve had playing baseball,” Stroman said. “I’ll tell everybody that there’s that excitement, that level of energy, you don’t get that in an MLB game.”

He remembers covering his ears to warm up a half an hour before the United States’ game against the Dominican Republic during pool play in Miami.

“Just because the sound was overwhelming,” he said. “And those are the type of things that excite me. I feel like those are the environments, the moments you want to be in and play in. I can’t wait to compete in that tournament because I feel like it displays baseball in the best light.”

He is one of 17 members of the Cubs’ organization on WBC rosters this spring.

Quotable

“From just the little bit of time that I’ve been here, you’ve got a lot of guys that care about each other. And we always would have a saying that good teams hang out together. And I feel like this can embody that.” — Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson on his new teammates

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