February 13th has arrived, meaning Chicago Cubs Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona has opened with pitchers and catchers reporting. The report date for Cubs position players is February 18. In total, 25 Tennessee Smokies alums will begin Major League camp with the Cubs, while 40 others have either been invited to their respective teams' Big League camps as non-roster invitees or are currently on their squad's 40-man roster.
Between the Cubs and 25 others squads, a total of 65 Smokies alums are slated to start the year in Major League camp with their respective teams. 15 of those players are in the American League and 25 on National League clubs excluding the Cubs. 19 are non-roster invitees, meaning those players are not currently on their club's 40-man roster but have been invited to at least start Spring Training in Big League camp.
In addition, 15 2013 Smokies were invited to Big League camps this Spring. Seven were non-roster invitees to the Cubs' camp, including right-handed pitchers Marcus Hatley, Kyle Hendricks, Armando Rivero and Brian Schlitter, left-handed hurler Eric Jokisch, catcher Rafael Lopez, and infielder Javier Baez. In addition, pitchers Dallas Beeler, Alberto Cabrera, and Zac Rosscup, infielder Christian Villaneva, along with outfielders Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur, will begin in Big League camp with the Cubs since they are on Chicago's 40-man roster. Three pitchers will be in other camps, including Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Matt Garza, who pitched with Tennessee on a Major League Rehab Assignment last year, Arizona Diamondbacks righty Marcus Mateo, and Los Angeles Angels hurler Yeiper Castillo.
Several free agents have not yet been signed but may participate in Spring Training, including infielder and 2005 Tennessee Smokie Stephen Drew.
Below is a list of all 65 Smokies alums who will begin this year in Big League camp with their respective teams.
* = Played with Tennessee on MLB Rehab Assignment
NRI = Non-Roster Invitee
The Cubs' will play their first Spring Training contest on February 27 in their brand-new complex in Mesa, Arizona. For the fourth straight season, Smokies Director of Broadcasting Mick Gillispie will broadcast games in Mesa with Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on Cubs.com. All 23 broadcasts will be available for free on the site, with the entire broadcast schedule available here.