MESA, Ariz. – Cubs reliever David Robertson could only smile when his locker mate Michael Hermosillo sent a breaking ball over the fence during live batting practice Tuesday.
“This is about as fun of an atmosphere as you can have,” Robertson said. “Facing your teammates, you just want to make sure you don’t hit one of them. I’m working on stuff, I’m not really too focused on strikeouts or walks or anything like that. If they put the ball in play, it’s good, it’s in the strike zone.”
Robertson threw to batters for the first time on Tuesday, returning to camp after the birth of his third child. He kept throwing back at home in Rhode Island, tossing a bullpen to a friend and even roping his neighbor into playing catch. The Cubs signed Robertson in the first week after the lockout ended.
“I know we’ve got eight days left ,” Robertson said Tuesday afternoon. “So, it’s crunch time. But I feel good physically. It’s a different camp, so I’m going to do the best I can to be ready.”
Robertson estimates he threw 25 pitches in a simulated inning on Tuesday. He’s expected to get into a game late this week.
“Trying to be ready for about 30 [pitches] in the game,” he said, “and then build up throughout the season.”
Robertson is one of the Cubs’ veteran additions with closing experience, along with Mychal Givens. But both spring additions got late starts to an already condensed spring training.
“I’ve done so many different roles, it doesn’t matter,” Robertson said when asked about the Cubs’ closer role. “I don’t really care. You can win games in the sixth and seventh innings, you can swing the momentum. If I’m asked to close, I’ll do my best. If I’m asked to throw the seventh, eighth inning, I’ll do that. If they want me to start one, I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.”
Kelce on site
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce could be spotted around Cubs camp on Tuesday, another sign of baseball inching back to normalcy.
“That was really cool,” said Cubs left-hander Justin Steele, who started against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. “I just said what’s up, introduced myself and stuff. I’ve had hima few times in fantasy football, so he’s pretty good at that.”
Did Steele tell Kelce that?
“No, I didn’t,” Steele said. “I’m sure he gets that a lot, so I was trying to lay it low.”