Dale Sveum gratified that Cubs’ front office keeps its distance
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org April 26, 2013 11:37PM
The facts: 6:10 p.m., CSN+, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09).
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:33PM
MIAMI — With the drama finally playing out in somebody else’s dugout for a change, Cubs manager Dale Sveum has seemed a bit more at ease these last two days here.
It doesn’t hurt that the Cubs beat the Marlins twice for their first consecutive victories of the season, including Friday’s 4-2 win on a pair of two-run homers from hometown boy Anthony Rizzo.
But even before Rizzo set a club record for April homers by a left-handed hitter (eight), Sveum got a chance to reflect on how good he has it with the Cubs — or at least reflect on the fact it could be worse.
“In a year and a month now, I haven’t gotten any phone calls about ever putting this guy in the lineup or changing anything — or anything,” Sveum said when asked about the reported ownership meddling going on across the way with the Marlins and first-year manager Mike Redmond.
Redmond was forced to respond Friday to questions about reports that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria ordered a switch of starting pitchers Tuesday a few hours before the start of a doubleheader in Minnesota. Loria later denied it, saying his front office made that call and he was merely informed of it.
“We were all on the call. It was an organizational decision,” Redmond said. “I’m going to leave it at that.”
Informed of the reports, Sveum said, “Yeah, that’s something you want to stay away from. … I’m pretty much left alone with all those baseball decisions.”
If nothing else, that’s one sign of health in an organization undergoing massive upheaval and changes in management style.
For all the outside speculation about possible lineup “suggestions” and pitching-use orders in the offing at the time team president Theo Epstein’s front office took over, the wisdom of staying in one’s lane seems to have prevailed.
Maybe it’s in part because of Epstein’s — and to a lesser degree Sveum’s — experience in Boston, where principal owner John Henry was known to call manager Terry Francona with lineup advice.
“We’ve had casual conversation [about philosophy], but nothing concrete,” Sveum said. “All of us are smart enough to know how we’re going to use each guy. … I’m pretty comfortable that they trust me and my knowledge of the game and watching video. … It’s a great relationship.”
Matt Garza felt good enough after a throwing session Friday that he tweeted out plans to make his first minor-league rehab start Wednesday — one week after the original scheduled start was scrapped by what turned out to be minor soreness. He’s on track for a possible return from the DL.
◆ Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (elbow) threw a bullpen session Friday, has another Monday, then will need two or three minor-league rehab appearances.