‘Business as usual' for Cubs minors spring training


A Cubs moving truck was spotted on Waveland Ave. outside Wrigley Field this week.

Which raises the question: What’s up with spring training?

The truck obviously has nothing to do with big-league camp. MLB’s lockout is in its third month, and spring training is facing a delay amid contentious labor negotiations.

It’s anybody’s guess when big league camps will open. As far as the most interesting part of Cubs spring training?

“It’s as business as usual,” said Cubs VP of player personnel Matt Dorey of minor league spring training on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast. “We're locked and loaded.

“We're spending every day talking about logistics and making sure we have reporting dates and physical dates. Everything's full-go. So, from my perspective, we're just focusing all of our attention on making sure we get all of our players down to Arizona."

The Cubs will open their minor league spring training in a matter of weeks. Their report date for minicamp — a pre-spring workout program for minor leaguers — is Feb. 21, Dorey said.

The club will then begin conducting physicals on March 2, with camp slated to start March 6-7, Dorey said. The first minor league spring game is scheduled for March 17.

Some prospects are already at the Cubs’ Arizona complex, including Brennen Davis, Ed Howard, Cristian Hernandez, Kevin Alcantara, Reggie Preciado, Yeison Santana and Ismael Mena — the latter four acquired in trades over the last calendar year-plus.

“For the first time in a couple years, we have somewhat of a normal minor league spring training and minicamp," Dorey said.

Such as it is, of course.

COVID-19 shut down spring training in 2020. Last year, there was uncertainty around whether spring training would even start on time as the pandemic raged across the country.

Big-league camps opened in February and included Triple-A players, but spring training for Double-A and Single-A players was delayed until the MLB regular season started.

Even a return to normalcy this year will be different so long as the lockout continues. MLB Opening Day, scheduled for March 31, is further jeopardized each day without a new labor agreement.

On the other hand, the Cubs have an opportunity for their first normal buildup to the minor league season in three years.

And the journey toward minor league Opening Day the first week of April is hitting the road.

“We're just focusing on what we can control, and it’s providing the best environment for our players and staff to get them prepared,” Dorey said. “For two years, we haven't had any normalcy in a buildup.

“We're just all really excited about having that opportunity with our players again.”

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