The Cubs are following in the Red Sox’ footsteps

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We know they’ve hired Theo Epstein and are looking at the same managerial candidates, but one other way in which the Cubs are aping the Red Sox is in their approach to their historic old ballpark:  they wanna make it a cash cow.

We’ve talked about that a lot over the past couple of years, but this story in the New York Times from over the weekend outlines and updates that nicely enough.  Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is even quoted in their saying that Epstein’s experience with the renovation in Boston was a plus for him being hired in Chicago.  I’m assuming it’s because he knows how to do drywall or something, because otherwise I presume renovations will be handled by building professionals, not baseball executives.

Anyway, the Cubs are going to be interesting to watch over the next five years. I don’t think Epstein is a god or anything, but I really get the feeling that something new is happening and that the Cubs aren’t going to continue to be an easy punchline for organizational ineptness going forward.

Michael Pineda throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.

He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.

Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.