The Rundown: Could Cubs Carry 3 Catchers? 2-Hole a ‘Mystery’, Bryant Hopes to Return to Field Thursday

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that I’m fairly certain catcher Welington Castillo will be traded by Opening Day.

Coincidentally, before Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Royals, manager Joe Maddon brought up the possibility of the Cubs rolling with three catchers this season.

“How does it all fit? It’s a jigsaw puzzle, obviously,” he told Patrick Mooney. “(And) you got to start making different thoughts and determinations in a variety of different ways.”

Maddon went on to praise Castillo’s spring and threw out the possibility of an injury occurring.

I’m not sure if this is just Maddon trying to build up the catcher to make him look more appealing to other teams, but I still feel there’s very little chance Castillo is part of a three-headed catching squad. And obviously, newly acquired Miguel Montero and David Ross aren’t going anywhere.

Additionally, none of the three catchers plays any other positions. It would be one thing if one of them could spell Anthony Rizzo at first base occasionally, or play a little outfield.

But even though the Cubs currently have a number of versatile guys, the three catchers on the spring roster don’t fall into that category. Meaning one will likely go.

Who will bat second?

Yesterday Joe Maddon said he is still contemplating his lineup construction and that the 2-spot is “like a mystery,” according to Carrie Muskat.

Dexter Fowler is a lock for the leadoff spot, but who will hit behind him?

Anthony Rizzo has batted second a number of times this spring, which has been interesting. Some people feel the 2-spot is where you should put your best hitter, although I’m not sure Maddon holds this belief.

The best bet might be one of the Chrises — Coghlan or Denorfia, depending on who is playing that day.

Or maybe Tommy La Stella could fill the role. He’s a guy who makes a lot of contact, can work counts, and doesn’t strike out a lot.

I could see Maddon trying tons of different lineups in the first month or so of the season. And even when he starts figuring it out, I think he’ll continue mixing things up. It should be fun to watch and analyze.

Other notes

* After dealing with recent shoulder fatigue, third baseman Kris Bryant hopes to be back in the field by Thursday, according to Mark Gonzales. Really hoping this is just the Cubs being overly cautious with the young star and that there are no serious issues here. My level of worry is probably in the 5-10 percent range right now.

* Speaking of Bryant (as everybody seemingly is these days), agent Scott Boras called out the Cubs ownership for not planning to bring up the team’s top prospect by Opening Day, writes Ken Rosenthal. As irritating as Boras can be, he’s just doing his job in this situation. Theo Epstein replied to the comments by stating that it’s not an ownership decision, but a baseball decision, and that all comments from outside the organization would be ignored. Love the response. Boras aside, I’m really surprised by how much this topic is being debated. The time required for Bryant to stay down in Triple-A is so short — I just don’t see why it’s such a big deal.

* Royals hitting coach and former Cubs manager Dale Sveum spoke yesterday about his time with the club and last year’s manager Rick Renteria. Sveum still checks Cubs box scores, writes Jesse Rogers, and he thinks Renteria got a bit of a raw deal being fired after only one year on the job. Sveum was probably not the right choice to manage the Cubs, but I liked what Renteria did last season. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for Cubs fans), the timing with Joe Maddon resulted in the firing of Renteria. But it wasn’t because of his results.

* New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may look to introduce an international draft, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland’s the Plain Dealer. Manfred made the comments while meeting with Cleveland Indians player on Tuesday. The intentions here would be to level the playing field and allow smaller-market teams to acquire more international talent. It would be a huge development, but any change would first have to agreed upon by the player association.

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