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Epstein competes in bunt tournament

MESA, Ariz. -- Nate Halm, a video and advanced scouting staffer who was a late addition to the Cubs bunting tournament because the masseuse withdrew, beat strength coach Tim Buss to advance to the players bracket on Saturday. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, did beat general manager Jed Hoyer in the first round, but Epstein then lost to Scott Harris, director of baseball operations, in the second round.

When Harris muffed a bunt against Epstein, the Cubs exec quipped: "Smart kid." And when Harris beat him, Epstein reminded everyone: "I hired him."

Halm beat Harris to advance against Buss. Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who threw to the 16 staff members, organized the bunt tourney last year, which outfielder David DeJesus won. The players and pitchers brackets will begin this week, now that the field of 64 has been completed.

"The most important match of the year was the first one," Epstein said of beating Hoyer. "I've got to get better -- better than Jed, which isn't saying much. I will say, Jed and I have a long history of playing pickup basketball and other sports. That one felt good. Nate, he might get an invite to camp on a Minor League contract -- that was impressive."

Epstein's secretary, Hayley DeWitte, did advance further than her boss.

"Title IX is a good thing," Epstein said.