South Bend will host part of the Chicago Cubs’ training camp as Major League Baseball starts its path to reopening. Major league teams are dividing summer training camp between their home fields and a second location for players who won’t be on the Opening Day roster. The Cubs are sending 11 players to get in shape at their single-A park in South Bend.
With just 97 miles separating Wrigley Field and South Bend’s Four Winds Field, South Bend was a more logical option for the Cubs than its higher-level minor-league parks in Iowa and Tennessee. South Bend Cubs president Joe Hart says the park is also well equipped to handle training camp, with apartments adjoining the outfield and a 17-thousand-square-foot indoor batting practice facility.
39 players will be training in Chicago. Teams are allowed 30 players on their Opening Day roster, five more than usual. They’ll have to cut two players after two weeks, and two more at the four-week mark, bringing an eventual total of 13 more players to South Bend to await a potential callup.
Hart says practices will be closed to the public, but he’s hoping intrasquad games can be opened when the number of players in South Bend grows.
Teams are allowed a pool of 60 players eligible for callup, including a three-player taxi squad which will travel with the team on road trips in case of a sudden injury or illness. The Cubs have left 10 of those slots open for now, but could assign more players to South Bend later.
The minor-league seasons are expected to be canceled. That will leave Victory Field in Indianapolis and Parkview Field in Fort Wayne idle. The Indianapolis Indians’ parent club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, will hold their secondary training camp in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Fort Wayne TinCaps’ parent San Diego Padres haven’t announced where their alternate camp will be but have said it will be within San Diego.
The South Bend contingent includes three players who made brief appearances with the major-league club last year: pitcher Adbert Alzolay, outfielder Mark Zagunis and infielder Robel Garcia. Four others are returning to South Bend after playing there in 2018 or 2019.