I imagine this was announced when the Cubs first announced ballpark renovations, but if I ever heard it I forgot about it. But it’s worth noting that, beginning in the 2017 season, the bullpens at Wrigley Field will no longer be in foul territory next to the stnads. They’ll be under the bleachers. A full report on the change can be read at the Chicago Tribune.
As Paul Sullivan notes, the move is almost certainly aimed at increasing the number of high-revenue seats down close to the field, even if the Cubs are saying it’s a safety matter. Probably doesn’t matter either way, though Joe Maddon and many Cubs pitchers aren’t thrilled with it. Both because of the aesthetics of it all and because of the home field advantage the Cubs get when opposing pitchers are jeered as they warm up.
Chad Kreuter, meanwhile, thinks this is a good 17 years too late.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.