What We’re Reading (1/22)

Cubs right hander Matt Garza is looking forward to getting back on the mound. Photo courtesy of the AP.

With Spring Training right around the corner, the Smokies on Radio staff will be rolling out all the Cubs, Smokies, and baseball news each weekday leading up to the season. To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitter and like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page.

The Chicago Cubs were able reach a deal and avoid arbitration with Garza, Samardzija, and Russell over the weekend.

Garza is coming off of a right-elbow injury that caused him to miss the last two months of the 2012. The 2013 season is the last on Garza’s current contract, but when asked about a potential long term deal, Matt made it clear his mind was focused on his play.

“Right now, I just want to pitch,” said the right-hander, who was limited to 18 starts in 2012 because of right elbow injury. “I’m happy this year is settled and taken care of. I’m not even thinking about [a long-term deal], I need to pitch. That’s my focus now.”

The 2015 MLB All-Star game will be held in Cincinnati according to reports.

The Cubs rejected a proposed Justin Upton for Starlin Castro trade.

Shortstop Starlin Castro could have been on his way to Arizona

Shortstop Starlin Castro could have been on his way to Arizona

“We are not interested in giving away any of our young talented players,” Towers said last Saturday at the Professional Scouts Foundation dinner in Los Angeles. “My job is to get the best players in order to win championships here in Arizona. That said, someone will have to give us equal value if we move one of our top players.”

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggests the Cubs hiring of Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson may help Cubs land David Price 

Chicago also is relatively close to Price’s home in Nashville, and Price is one of those AL pitchers who dreams of playing in the NL and taking his regular turn in a batting order.

Alfonso Soriano is excited about the Cubs’ direction and is hopeful he will remain with the team.

“I’m very happy what I have seen so far this year,” Soriano said. “We have a better rotation and young guys with more experience. I think we have a chance to win more games and try to make the playoffs.”

Brett Jackson likely to start the season in Iowa after making Cubs debut in 2012.

“We want [Jackson] to start in Iowa,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said, per CSN Chicago. “Things can happen over the course of a spring with injuries and whatnot, but I think we saw he’s got some things he can work on in Iowa. I look at it very, very similarly to the way I looked at things with Rizzo. [Jackson] can take some of those lessons back to Iowa. If he takes the same attitude Anthony did, I don’t see any reason he can’t do the same thing.”

Jonathan Reed/ Smokies Radio Network

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