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    A person with direct knowledge of the situation says left-handed reliever Phil Coke has agreed to a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. Coke is expected to join the team’s major league camp on Friday. Coke made 62 appearances for Detroit last season and finished with a 5-2 record and a 3.88 ERA. The 32-year-old Coke also has a 4.26 ERA in 26 career postseason games.

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    Post info: By NorthsideBum on March 5th, 2015
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    When the Chicago Cubs open their season at Wrigley Field next month, players and fans alike may feel a bit like a homeowner who lives in a house where workers are tearing apart the kitchen. Members of the media were led on a tour Monday of the bowels of the Major League Baseball’s second-oldest ballpark, which has become a forest of beams and pipes on a dirt floor amid a massive renovation. Many of the steel girders that will support the ballpark’s huge new video board are still lying on the ground beyond the left-field wall because record cold in February made it difficult for steel workers to do their job. To get everything done, Cubs officials will ask the city for permission to work around the clock, said Crane Kenney, the team’s president of business operations.

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    Matt Dominguez was given a new glove after arriving at spring training with the Houston Astros. ”It feels a little weird, but as the days go along I’ll get used to it,” Dominguez said of his first baseman mitt Wednesday. ”I’ve played third base my whole life, but we got (Luis) Valbuena and stuff.” Valbuena arrived with pitcher Dan Straily in the Jan. 18 trade that sent center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Chicago Cubs. As the Astros prepared for Thursday’s exhibition opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, third base appeared to be one of the positions for which there will be competition this spring.

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    The Chicago Cubs’ scramble to get as much of a massive renovation of Wrigley Field done before next month’s opening day hit a bump Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel dashed the team’s hopes of winning city approval to keep construction crews working around the clock. ”The city ordinance is clear that you can’t have 24-hour building,” the mayor told reporters, who also made a point of saying that whatever the Cubs told the media about extending the hours of construction, they had not raised the issue with him.

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    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says city building ordinances don’t allow the renovation project at Wrigley Field to have construction crews working around the clock. Emanuel’s Tuesday announcement is a blow to a Chicago Cubs team that says it needs to quicken construction to get the iconic ballpark ready for next month’s opening day. The Cubs say the brutal winter has put construction work behind schedule and they need additional hours to do things like erect a massive video board in left field. Emanuel says the Cubs had not yet made an official request to the city.

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    Kris Bryant and Addison Russell are poised to become the latest Chicago Cubs prospects to break through to the big leagues. A year after rookies Jorge Soler and Javier Baez showed some pop in the majors, Bryant and Russell are hoping to boost Chicago’s infield. The 23-year-old Bryant is rated among the top newcomers in baseball, having led all minor leaguers with a combined 43 home runs last season at Triple-A and Double-A. There’s already talk the third baseman could be starting at Wrigley Field this year. Anything can happen,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.

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    CHICAGO (AP) — When Minnie Minoso broke into major league baseball, the ”Cuban Comet” was part of a wave of black players who changed the game forever. By the time he played in his final game 35 years ago, he was a beloved figure with the Chicago White Sox.

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    Growing up in Cuba, Jorge Soler had limited access to major league games on television. Only the best teams and the most famous players made the news on the communist island. Manny Ramirez was one of them. ”In Cuba, you always hear about the best players, no one else, and you always heard about him.” Soler and other Cubs youngsters who watched Ramirez on TV during his heyday with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox can now learn firsthand from the Dominican slugger.

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    Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is one of those truly rare and special talents. Recognized by ESPN’s Keith Law and Baseball America at the No. 1 prospect in baseball , Bryant is a major-league ready hitter with at least All-Star upside. Nothing he’s done during his time in the minor leagues has cast any doubt over those expectations either. In fact, he delivered a minor-league best 43 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season, which has actually raised the expectations. If it were up to Bryant, his agent Scott Boras, and especially fans of the Chicago Cubs, his prodigious power would have been on display as early as last September. Unfortunately, the decision lies with Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and thanks to a quirk in the rules, it’s possible we won’t see him at Wrigley Field until there’s ivy on the outfield wall. [ Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics. ] It’s the same scenario that played out with the Houston Astros and George Springer last season. Under the current system, players who are called up within the first 11 days of the regular season are under club control one year less than players called up afterward, so the Astros simply stashed Springer in the minors for two weeks to delay his free agency. It’s a legal maneuver, and it’s something the Cubs will likely use to their advantage .  As Patrick Mooney of Comcast SportsNet Chicago notes though , the Cubs could actually wait until late May or even June before promoting Bryant in an effort to also delay his arbitration. The significance of waiting that long would revolve around Bryant’s Super Two status. If Bryant ranks among the top 22 percent of eligible players in service time between his second and third seasons, he would become a Super Two player, meaning he’d eligible arbitration one year earlier, in addition to the three arbitration years that are guaranteed.  That can mean the difference of millions of dollars, which is why clubs often try to work around this rule by holding out top prospects until later in the season. It’s a business decision and once again it’s within the parameters, but it’s a strategy that’s also gaining more attention recently, in particular from MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. With that in mind, Clark made it clear again this week that he’s aware of what teams of doing, and that he’ll be paying particularly close attention to Bryant’s situation because of the obvious talent that’s involved. “We have always (believed) – and will continue to believe – that it’s in everyone’s best interests to have the best players playing at any particular time,” Clark said. “Any rules that are in place that some may be using against the spirit of how they may have been designed, we don’t believe (that’s) in anyone’s best interest – the fans, or anyone that loves our games, the players, or even the clubs for that matter. “We will continue – as we always have – to monitor those types of scenarios and situations in the hopes that everybody does what’s best for the game.” Of course, there’s nothing Clark can do right now to combat these tactics or appease agents like Boras, but it gives him a better idea of what changes he’ll need to seek out when the current collective bargaining agreement runs out following the 2016 season. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] As for the Cubs perspective. You can already sense the maneuvering, which should come as no surprise at all. “He’s certainly got a lot to work on,” Hoyer said. “He’s only had one full (professional) season and that was five-months long. His defense is the biggest thing. We talk a lot about his progression defensively and certainly that’s the area of the game that needs the most work. He had a great offensive season. There are things that can improve.”

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    Evan Longoria trusts the Tampa Bay Rays to get it right, so he has no complaints about the club’s winter makeover. Not that the star third baseman was happy to see the franchise lose manager Joe Maddon and front office executive Andrew Friedman within a 10-day span of October, then watch their successors spend much of the next three months revamping the roster through a series of trades and free agent signings that have filled the clubhouse with new faces. ”Sometimes things are needed and necessary to kind of keep you on track.” The Rays’ career leader in home runs and RBIs stressed that that’s no knock on Maddon, who guided the Rays to four playoffs berths over a six-year span before finishing with Tampa Bay’s first losing record since 2007 last season. The Rays hired Kevin Cash, who has no previous managerial experience, to succeed the popular Maddon.

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