We Have Baseball (Almost)!

I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:

Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:

ss Theriot

3b Cedeno

rf Fukudome

1b Lee

lf Murton

c Soto

2b Cintron

cf Pie

p Dempster

DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.

Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.

From Arizona Phil:

The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.

There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.

The position players were broken up into two groups, with the "A" Squad taking its infield practice, BP, and base-running drills on DWP (main field), with the "B" Squad doing the same evolutions on the back field.

This was not "live" BP, but rather "traditional" BP (coaches throwing BP fastballs from in front of the pitchers mound, the kind of pre-game BP teams take during the regular season).

More...

The best pure power performances were by Matt Murton (who hit 'em off the scoreboard, over the scoreboard, and into the lower 40) and Derrek Lee (who hit about a half dozen moon shots).

Kosuke Fukudome also had a nice BP session, hitting ropes all over the field followed at the end by about four or five home runs yanked over the RF fence. Fukudome has had no trouble looking good in "traditional" BP, but he struggled in the "live" BP sessions (with pitchers throwing full speed fastballs, breaking balls, and change-ups) last week at Fitch Park.

Carlos Zambrano took BP with the "A" Squad position players on Dwight Patterson Field, and hit a couple over the fence while batting left-handed, but struggled hitting right-handed.

Again, this was NOT "live" BP, so all that can be gleaned from it is a hitter's power, bat speed, hitting mechanics, etc.

I wasn't able to watch both work-outs at the same time, so I don't know if anybody had an exceptional BP performance on the back field.

SQUAD "A":

GROUP 1 BP

Kosuke Fukudome (raked 'em all over the yard)

Sam Fuld

Koyie Hill

Derrek Lee

Matt Murton (showed tremendous power and bat speed--can N.L. get the DH for 2008?)

 

GROUP 2 BP

Felix Pie

Aramis Ramirez (poor BP outing)

Alfonso Soriano (hit the ball very well)

Geovany Soto (also hit the ball hard, but no HR)

 

GROUP 3 BP

Henry Blanco

Eric Patterson

Ryan Theriot

Carlos Zambrano

 

Daryle Ward participated in fielding practice and baserunning drills, but did not hit, while Zambrano hit but did not participate in fielding practice or baserunning drills

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  • Rick Renteria was a great idea! Seriously! I feel bad for the guy, although it happened the way it had to.

  • Hey, whatta bout me?

    -Ian Stewart

  • ....and Theo thought EJax, Sveum and Ricky were good ideas. Win some, lose some.

  • I thought he was better than Archer?

    /f u Hendry

  • The Padres signed RHP Trey McNutt to a minor league contract...

  • Yeah, she's a good egg. The whole superdelegate thing is shady as fuck though.

  • the perks of being a big fundraiser model representative citizen.

    honestly, though...the dnc could do worse and she's involved in all kinds of dem party stuff.

  • I didn't realize Laura Ricketts is a superdelegate.

  • pretty much...also agree that it wouldn't surprise me to see him land with the cubs, too.

    the trade to free up room for him would be interesting.

    it would help if he didn't play such a mixed-bag CF. he's anything but sure out there with his wacky routes.

    the O's are favored because of links for weeks and they're about to land y.gallardo (giving up that draft pick).

  • holy crap...j.mejia got busted AGAIN for PEDs.

    3rd time...lifetime ban.

    at one point he was the "closer of the future" (and the actual closer) for the mets. 26 years old. unreal.

  • I agree with what you said, but isn't it so weird that the White Sox are not linked to Fowler? They seem like an ideal fit.

  • oddly...or not...fowler's been strongly linked to the O's lately.

  • Olmos takes another 40 man roster Roulette bullet. The new lefty will be gone when Fowler comes back.

  • seen him in the minors...rather boring lefty. really slow secondary stuff (very slow slider) and a fastball that barely hits 90 on a good day.

  • The Cubs have claimed C.J. Riefenhauser LHP on waivers from the Orioles. Edgar Olmos was again DFA.

  • They should have someone standing behind him to take the ball out of his glove when he's looking for a sign from the catcher, and throw to first. I vote for Baez. That way he can cover the rest of the infield, too.