MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein managed to beat general manager Jed Hoyer in the bunting tournament bunt-off on Saturday, though he was knocked out in the second-round by 25-year-old director of Baseball Operations Scott Harris.
“I hired him,” Epstein said after his walk of shame.
“The most important match of the year is the first one, and the rest is coasting,” he said. “No, I’ve got to get better. I’m better than Jed, but that’s not saying much, though. I will say that Jed and I have a long history of playing pick-up basketball and other sports against one another, so that one felt good.”
The winner of the bunt-off was Nate Halm, the Cubs’ assistant video coordinator and advance scout. Halm was a last-minute addition to the bracket because one employee allegedly pulled out for religious reasons.
“Nate might get an invite to camp on a minor league contract,” Epstein said. “That was impressive.
Epstein’s executive assistant, Hayley DeWitte, made it to the Final Four, ahead of her boss.
“Title IX,” Epstein said. “It’s a good thing.”
The winner now goes into the 64-man player tournament, which begins Monday.
Extra Innings: Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija will start the first two Cactus League games, respectively, next Saturday and Sunday.
Luis Valbuena and Ian Stewart will compete for the third base job that manager Dale Sveum says is Stewart's "job to win." Valbuena will make the team either way, though the third baseman is not taking his spot for granted. "I don't feel comfortable (just being) here," he said.