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Cubs’ happiest camper is pitcher Arodys Vizcaino

MESA, Ariz. — Arodys Vizcaino might have been the happiest Cub in the clubhouse after the intrasquad game Wednesday.

Imagine if he’d actually pitched well instead of allowing two walks, a hit and a run and retiring only one batter.

“It’s my first game,” he said. “And everything’s OK.”

Vizcaino injured his elbow in 2011, but after undergoing Tommy John surgery, he suffered a setback that led to additional minor surgery on the elbow last season.

Team officials have raved about what might be the most electric stuff in camp, including a fastball that reached 98 mph during a so-called live batting-practice session this week.

He said his arm feels better than it has since “I don’t remember when,” and he has been one of the most energetic, upbeat personalities in the clubhouse, occasionally even dancing.

“Because I feel comfortable,” he said. “My arm feels real good. I feel happy. That’s why I’m dancing.”

Manager Rick Renteria said the main concern is just making sure Vizcaino stays healthy.

Barring a setback, the right-hander acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Paul Maholm trade in 2012, could open the season in the bullpen.

Where he goes from there could depend on his strength and consistency over the season.

“If I have a good year this year, I want to be a closer,” he said. “If not a starter, I want to be a closer.”

Regardless, “It’s a big year this year.”

NOTES: Justin Ruggiano (off Tsuyoshi Wada), Welington Castillo (Wada) and Christian Villanueva (Neil Ramirez) homered in the intrasquad game (a 5-3 victory for the home team).

Kyle Hendricks, the starting pitcher for the winning team, retired all eight batters he faced in two innings (with a batter added each inning because he was so efficient). He struck out three.

◆ Northwestern product Eric Jokisch retired seven of nine batters in his start for the visitors, striking out four.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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