Results tagged ‘ David Patton ’

News and notes from Mesa

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpg   Just some observations around Hohokam Park today, the first day after the big-league camp moved over from Fitch Park:

–Watched former Rule 5 pick David Patton throw live BP. His got a great breaking ball as most people know, but he had a couple guys turn on him and line singles into right-center.

–Cubs fans filtered into the stadium to watch the team practice. The team is very loose, but the level of camaraderie is as good as it was last year. While much has been made about Milton Bradley’s presence on the team, last year during spring training no one had a problem with him. He was participatory and welcomed.

Marlon Byrd, a friend of Bradley’s, has assimilated nicely into the clubhouse. In fact, he has been quite vocal laughing and smiling, further increasing the fun quotient. During BP, he was working on hitting to the opposite field where Ryan Theriot was manning second. The BP pitcher–I think it was Alan Trammell–pitched faster and more frequently, Byrd kept shooting line drives to Theriot. Theriot kept diving and getting up, diving and getting up, snagging them all until Byrd finally got one past the goalie. But Theriot earned a nice hand from the crowd, while eliciting a big “whoo!” from Byrd.

Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro had their fun turning double plays. Castro, a quiet, easy going kid, was all smiles taking throws from “shortstop” Ramirez. But Ramirez showed his shoulder was in top condition when he snagged a liner that was about a foot above his head. That also earned a double take from teammates.

–Another person who earned double takes from teammates was young right-hander Rafael Dolis. The team was just filtering out for stretching while Dolis was throwing early live BP to a group of hitters that included No. 1 pick Brett Jackson. Standing next to Mike Fontenot, he asked what level he was at. I told him Dolis had dealt with some injuries, but I’d lay odds he’s going to be in Class-A Daytona or better. You didn’t need to be a ballplayer to see just how hard Dolis threw. A little buzz raced through the growing impromptu audience. Dolis’ “heavy” ball made a loud thud every time. The audience got a huge “Ohhh!” when Dolis broke Jackson’s bat. Sawed him off right at the handle.

Later, Jackson came by me and said, “Look at that, Mike. Well, that one ain’t coming back.” And he threw down the broken bat in disgust.

–Mike Huang

To subscribe to Vine Line, visit

An unlikely contributor

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for FIVE MINUTES LOGO Cubs reliever David Patton is that one fish that swam against the current and made it upstream this past spring training. He is, as manager Lou Piniella calls him, “that Rule 5 kid.”  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Rule 5 draft, it is held annually on the last day of the winter meetings. In sum, certain minor-leaguers, if they aren’t protected by their parent clubs, can be selected in the Rule 5 draft.The 6-3, 205-pound  Patton was drafted from the Rockies by the Reds, who subsequently traded him to the Cubs. In Patton’s case, he was taken in the major-league phase of the draft, so he has to remain with the big-league club all year or he has to be returned to his parent club along with a cash compensation.

For a team that won 97 games, it’s rare that a Rule 5 player would make the team, let alone stick with the major-league team all year. Last year the Cubs brought big right-hander Tim Lahey to camp, drafted from the Twins organization. Lahey was returned.

And yet, here the Seattle native sits on the Cubs active roster. While it’s been a couple of rough outings for him a couple of days ago and tonight against the D-Backs, Patton possesses the devil-may-care attitude and laid back attitude that benefits not only a reliever, but also a Rule 5 kid who has never pitched above Class A.

Vine Line: Are you surprised at all that you’d make a veteran team that won 97 games last year?

David Patton: I’ve said all along that I’ve got a new opportunity with a new organization. They saw something they liked in me and I came ready to pitch. I had a goal to make the team and now I have the goal to help this team win games and get back to the playoffs.

VLDoes it sit in the back of your mind that the organization can’t send you down, so you might end up going back to Colorado?

DP: I can’t worry about that. All I can do is worry about what’s between the lines. That’s all I can control. Any other decisions, I can’t make those for them.

VL: You’ve got a curveball with which many scouts have been impressed. How did you develop such a good bender?

DP:Growing up I didn’t pitch very much. Then my senior year in high school, I started pitching and fooling around with the curveball. I liked throwing it and as with anything, you practice more something that you like. So over time it just came to be my pitch. I feel good with it.

VL: How does the Cubs organization compare to Colorado? Or is it hard to answer because you hadn’t yet made it to Denver? That’s a weird question, I know.

DP: Yeah, I can’t really make the comparison. It’s such a new environment, something I’ve never experienced before. I can only go out there and be ready to pitch and help our team win.

VL: Were you nervous your first time out? 

DP: I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was definitely excited. I had a big adrenaline rush going. It was a thing I had dreamed of since I was a little kid. It sunk in after the first inning, though. My parents didn’t make the trip, because it was a last-minute type thing, but they were very excited, too.

–Mike Huang

To subscribe to Vine Line, visit