Home / News / Cubs get a spring surprise with the signing of Cody Bellinger; Tim Elko impressive for White Sox – Chicago Tribune

Cubs get a spring surprise with the signing of Cody Bellinger; Tim Elko impressive for White Sox – Chicago Tribune


GLENDALE and MESA, Arizona — Overnight delivery News that Cody Bellinger has signed While Sunday morning provided a welcome wake-up call for Chicago Cubs fans, White Sox fans also got their first taste of new broadcaster John Schriffen over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the start of Cactus League play has brought thousands of baseball fans to the Valley for the annual spring parade, but not every team is as successful as the Cubs in filling the stadium. The Sox drew a small crowd of 5,364 for their home opener at Camelback Ranch on Saturday, while the Cubs’ spring opener against the White Sox at Sloan Park on Friday drew 13,332. The Cubs’ 8-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday also drew 11,079 to Scottsdale Stadium.

The Cactus League usually has a big sale on weekends, but unfortunately the Sox only have two more Saturday home games (March 16 and 23) and no Sunday home games. The Cubs have three home games on Saturday (March 9, 16 and 23) and two more home games on Sunday (March 3 and 17).

Every Monday and Friday throughout the season, Tribune baseball writers will provide updates on what’s happening and what the future holds for the Cubs and Sox.

State of the Cubs address

Cubs President Tom Ricketts speaks to reporters during the first day of full team spring training workouts on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Mesa, Ariz. (Meghan Montemurro/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs President Tom Ricketts appeared before the media at the start of full team practices, as he has done in nearly every non-pandemic season during his 15-year management. Shouldn’t every team owner at least once give the fans an idea of ​​what they think?

“I don’t know what the other owners did or didn’t do,” Ricketts said. “But it’s been 15 years and it’s gone by pretty quickly. “I have no comment on what others are doing, but it has been a good experience for me and my family.”

This year’s “State of the Cubs” speech was nothing out of the ordinary — the usual narrative that President Jed Hoyer knows “you can only spend every dollar once, and you don’t want to take on too many long-term contracts when you’ve got a lot of money” due to the number of young men coming through the minors. There was much less conflict with the media than in the early days, when the Cubs tried to obtain public funds for Wrigley Field improvements or threatened to move their spring training complex to Naples, Fla.

“You remember those early days, we went through all kinds of changes, all kinds of drama,” Ricketts said. “It’s kind of an impasse now. The park has been fixed and everything looks good. There is great stability in the management team. “I’m less interesting than I was 15 years ago, so there’s not really much to talk about.”

John Schriffen stood up!

New White Sox broadcaster John Schriffen debuted on NBC Sports Chicago this weekend, and the Sox already appeared to have a slogan for their win: “South Side, Stand Up!” At least that’s what he left us with in the ninth inning of Edgar Quero’s two-run single against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. Does he look too much like Gus Johnson? Maybe, but it’s a long season and Schriffen is just getting started, so give him time before making any decisions.

He seemed comfortable around his partner, Steve Stone, and frequently asked Stone questions about things like his “favorite concert” (Crosby, Still & Nash), making Schriffen seem more like a facilitator than lead announcer. Maybe this will be the new norm, replacing the Jason Benetti/Stone joke that Mayor Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t like to hear.

Stone, whose Cactus League debut featured mostly unknown faces, praised the new clubhouse chemistry and new hires from general manager Chris Getz and said improvements could be made without predicting any miracles. Pedro Grifol’s “improved defense” narrative took a major hit when the Sox threw the ball around like Minor Leaguers in the later innings, but perhaps a new star was born in Tim Elko, the Mississippi legend who had a statue commissioned in college. .

Overall, Schriffen passed the auditions and scored a “10” on the enthusiasm scale. The next Sox broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago is March 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Will they stand up?”

Next week: Cubs

  • Monday: At Royals, 2:05 p.m.
  • Tuesday: vs. Reds, 2:05 p.m., Marquee
  • Wednesday: At Brewers, 2:05 p.m., Marquee
  • Thursday: vs. Rockies, 2:05 p.m., Marquee
  • Friday: vs. White Sox, 2:05 p.m., Marquee
  • Saturday: At Dodgers, 2:05 p.m., Marquee
  • Sunday: vs. Guardians, 14:05, Marquee

Photos: Inside Cubs spring training camp

Former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell returns to the Maryvale area of ​​Phoenix on Wednesday to face his former team for the first time. Will former Cub third baseman Kris Bryant return to Sloan Park on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies to play with his former team? Bryant played in only 122 games in his first two seasons in Colorado due to injuries and is expected to play first base, right field and DH in 2024.

“I come here with great joy,” Bryant told MLB.com. “This is something I never really paid attention to in the past. I came immediately and continued my work. But I’m trying to find that feeling when I was playing on the field when I was 5, 6, 7 years old.”

The Cubs’ rematch with the White Sox on Friday at Sloan Park highlights the week’s tone.

Next week: White Sox

  • Monday: vs. Rangers, 14:05
  • Tuesday: At Dodgers, 2:05 p.m., whitesox.com
  • Wednesday: vs. Padres, 2:05 p.m.
  • Thursday: vs. Royals, 2:05 p.m./at Mariners, 2:10 p.m.
  • Friday: At Cubs, 2:05 p.m.
  • Saturday: at Rangers, 14:05
  • Sunday: at Angels, 2:10 p.m.
Chicago White Sox Tim Elko hits a homerun in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park on Friday, February 23, 2024 in Mesa, Arizona.  The Cubs won the game 8-1.  (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)
Tim Elko of the Chicago White Sox hits a home run in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Mesa, Ariz. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

For non-roster invitees like Tim Elko, spring training offers opportunities. It didn’t take long for the right-handed batsman to make an impression.

In his first at-bat this spring, the designated hitter homered to right field against Jordan Wicks in an 8-1 loss to the Cubs on Friday at Sloan Park.

“It was a surreal moment, something you dream about,” Elko said Saturday. “It was a great feeling.”

The 25-year-old from Elko nearly hit his second home run of the game in the seventh inning, flying into the wall in right-center.

“I actually thought about the second one, I felt like I hit it a little better than the first one, but I was a little bit delayed because of the wind,” Elko said.

He added, joking: “Yes, I should play the wind.”

Selected in the 10th round out of Mississippi in the 2022 draft, Elko totaled 28 home runs and 106 RBI in 131 games with Class A Kannapolis, Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 2023.

“I was pretty happy with most of what I was doing and wanted to clean up some of the swings and misses and try to control the zone a little better, swing at pitches that were good to hit,” he said. “I’m trying to work on that a little more, perfect my way and get ready to have an even better season this season.”

Photos: Inside White Sox spring training

Elko showed great strength in college and helped lead Mississippi to the College World Series title in 2022. The school recently unveiled a statue of Elko.

“It’s a great university, and they feel very special and honored to do this for me and for the national championship team,” he said. “Pretty cool.”

Elko said he often tries to hit the ball the other way. He showed it off on Friday.

“What I like about him is that the balls he hit (on Friday) were in right field, which is really impressive to me,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Players with pulling power sometimes have a tough time in the big leagues. Guys who can hit the ball from line to line eventually find some success.

“It’s very, very difficult to pitch consistently inside. And if you have the talent and the power and the approach to do what he did (Friday), that’s a good recipe for him being a good power hitter.”

What we read this morning


“Basically I think this, I actually have no comment. “I don’t want to say anything about what the White Sox are doing.” — Tom Ricketts of the Sox is seeking public funding for the South Loop ballpark.


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