Veteran Scales making big push
By Gordon wittenmyer firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2011 11:10PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If this is when long shots make their moves for roster spots, keep an eye on Bobby Scales.
The longtime minor-league infielder who persevered until getting his big-league debut in 2009 — at 31 — could be on the verge of pushing Augie Ojeda and Darwin Barney for the Cubs’ lone infield bench opening.
He followed a three-hit game Saturday with a 1-for-3 performance Sunday that included a hand in five double plays as the second baseman. He’s batting .438 as the Cubs approach their first major cuts of camp after the day off Wednesday — the symbolic starter gun for a sprint for the last roster spots.
‘‘He’s playing his tail off,’’ said bench coach Pat Listach, the former middle infielder who was acting manager for Sunday’s split-squad game. ‘‘I don’t know what the final numbers are going to be as far as roster spots and what’s available and what we’re going to do. But he’s opening some eyes right now, the last couple of days, especially.’’
Scales, a Michigan grad who teaches high school in the offseason, is considered a lock for a coaching, managing or front-office job after he’s done playing. But he figures he has plenty of unfinished business left on a big-league field — no matter what the odds might look like.
‘‘It’s a flattering thing to hear, and it’s good that people think of you as a good baseball guy and an intelligent person and someone that they would like to work with in the future,’’ Scales said. ‘‘But I’m still a player, and I still want to play. And I still feel like I can help a team win games.’’
Braden Looper stepped off the mound in the second inning, just as a public-address announcement warned of a fire alarm going off in the stadium at Scottsdale and advised people to leave the ballpark.
But Looper said he had no idea what was going on. He just wanted a different sign from the catcher.
‘‘I think the umpire thought I was listening to that, but I wasn’t even listening,’’ said Looper, who gave up his only run in that inning. ‘‘It took a little while for me after that, too.’’