Craig Calcaterra

Pete Mackanin

The Phillies extend Pete Mackanin through 2017, with an option for 2018

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When Pete Mackanin replaced Ryne Sandberg last June he was originally given an “interim” title. Then, in September, he was named the team’s permanent manager, with a deal that took him through 2016. Despite a 37-51 record under him, the Phillies must like what they’ve seen from Mackanin, because today they announced that he’s been given a contract extension: he’s now signed through 2017 with a club option for 2018. Previously 2017 was covered by a team option.

A good move for Philly, as Mackanin has been a stabilizing force at a time of much organizational upheaval. Sandberg left under a cloud and then the entire front office was revamped and a tear-down rebuild embarked upon. There’s still a long way to go before that rebuild bears fruit in the form of a winning big league ballclub, but there has been little if any strife from the Phillies’ dugout and Mackanin, an old hand who has served the Phillies a long time, coaching from 2009 through 2012 and again in 2014 through last year and up to the present, can take responsibility for that.

The Cubs had actual cubs in camp today

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Associated Press
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The wacky antics of Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs continue apace. Today it wasn’t mimes or guitar players or custom vans or tying a strength and conditioning coach to a chair. It was just cubs. Actual bear cubs. The cute fuzzy kind.

Not that everything about them was wonderful. As Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports, one of the bears got a little too excited and peed on Anthony Rizzo.

Respect the game, baby bear.

 

A blister may keep Jake Arrieta from the Opening Day start

Jake Arrieta
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A few weeks ago Jake Arrieta was officially named the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Now that Opening Day start is in doubt.

Arrieta left in the first inning of his Cactus League start yesterday due to a blister. It wasn’t major and lifting him from the game was one of those abundance of caution things, but it could be enough to cause Joe Maddon to push him back a bit. Maddon just said that blisters are “funny things” and that he won’t guarantee that Arrieta from making that start on Opening Day.

Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and won the Cy Young award last year, though, so I think we can say that his rotation spot is safe.