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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  • Dodgers with 3 in the 8th, 5 in the 9th, and they win that game.

    Mornington Crescent 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Yeah... that was some very athletic stuff from Willson in the 9th. Impressive.

    I think Chapman and Wood both need 2 days off -- rosters expand, bring 'em up!

    Cubs now 41-15 in August in the Maddon era. That'll do. That will effing do.

    billybucks 2 hours 21 min ago view
  • 31 pitches, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 3 wild pitches later...the cubs win by 1.

    contreras snagged some other potential wild pitches in this chapman appearance.

    22 wins in august. woo.

    crunch 2 hours 49 min ago view
  • ...too...much...drama...

    c'mon chapman.

    crunch 2 hours 54 min ago view
  • Down on the farm:

    "Dealin'" Cease with another good outing for Eugene. Last 4 outings: 16IP, 1ER 29K. But, 10BB. Throw strikes, kid.

    Candelario is killing it at Iowa after struggling at AA: .320/.406/.941 in 241AB. At age 22. Where the heck to put him next year?

    UPDATE: Candy goes 3-5 tonight. Now hitting .325. Also, Almora 4-5, which is nice to see.

    billybucks 3 hours 33 min ago view
  • jacos 3 hours 55 min ago view
  • Happ and Jiminez to play in the AFL. Baseball is the best.

    billybucks 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • You magnificent Bastardo!

    jacos 4 hours 27 min ago view
  • Difference is LaStella sucks, and Chapman doesn't

    /,I need

    jacos 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • My guy Addy

    jacos 5 hours 26 min ago view
  • \m/

    jacos 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • he's attempting a comeback (or he's just very bored) and playing indie ball in the atlantic league...short-lived-cub brad snyder is also on his team.

    very boring numbers for a guy with his experience in indie ball, though not bad numbers...probably not enough to get him a minor league deal at his age (33)

    crunch 5 hours 35 min ago view
  • there goes heyward's gold glove win. bench him and bring up matt murton.

    crunch 5 hours 39 min ago view
  • felt like 36 for sure....

    Rob G. 5 hours 42 min ago view
  • Didn't LaHair hit 36 before the All Star Break? Then none after.

    John Beasley 5 hours 44 min ago view
  • @CarrieMuskat 41s41 seconds ago Bryant is 1st #Cubs player to top 35 HRs since Aramis Ramirez hit 38 in 2006

    surprised me, thought Soriano may have or Rizzo...maybe LaHair or Schierholtz too :)

    Rob G. 5 hours 52 min ago view