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Schuster: Theo Epstein Addresses Hairston Signing, Garza’s Health

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By David Schuster-

MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — The bunting tournament is back for the Cubs in Spring Training and believe it or not, that wasn’t the biggest news for day one with the Cubs. Lots of topics were broached as Theo Epstein and crew addressed the assembled media.

The most noteworthy info came in the form of an official signing as right handed hitting outfielder Scott Hairston inked a two-year deal with the club. Hairston, 32 years old, batted .263 with 20 home runs for the New York Mets last season and will be used in a platoon situation in right field. To make room on the 40 man roster, the Cubs designated Tony Campana for assignment.

Other subjects touched upon included the health of Matt Garza who the brass view as completely healthy, Starlin Castro who Epstein now sees as a shortstop only and that Javier Baez, a potential shortstop of the future, will definitely spend the next season or two in the minors.

Epstein went out of his way to say that last season is now fully behind everybody. There are no more excuses to fall back on and that they expect to turn matters around quickly.

Cubs Manager Dale Sveum would not commit to an opening day pitcher but admitted it would likely be either Garza, Edwin Jackson or Jeff Samardzija. Sveum did say he would not refer to last season at all when he addresses the full squad when it reports over the next week.

And everyone is looking forward to the new stadium and complex that is being built across town. Following 17 years at Ho Ho Kam and Fitch Park, the Cubs will have a new state of the arts complex in time for next season. Epstein said that along with new training facilities in the Dominican Republic and a renovated Wrigley Field shortly down the road, he is definitely feeling the pressure to have a successful product on the field to go along with the updated digs.

For more Cubs spring training coverage from Mesa, Ariz, click here. Find all of David Schuster’s spring training blogs here and follow him on Twitter (@schumouse).