Gameday Open Thread / Cubs @ White Sox

Rich Hill (0-1/7.04) throws against Nick Masset as the Cubs make their only visit to Tucson Electric Park this Cactus League season. (The Sox will travel to Mesa next Saturday.) First pitch is at 3:05, and the game will be telecast in Chicago on WGN, though described by the insufferable White Sox announcing team. (Wild guess: at some point in the broadcast, lifetime .239 hitter Hawk Harrelson will talk about how much more fundamentally sound baseball players were in the Old Days.) Pat and Ron will also have the call on WGN Radio.

Another reason for a Cub fan to love, or at least be fond of, Lou Piniella, from Chris DeLuca in the Sun-Times:

Piniella feels compelled to bring a competitive team to Tucson today to face the White Sox, but Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Soriano will stay in Mesa, along with Henry Blanco and Felix Pie, to work on their hitting. ''We have to take a representative team over
there,'' Piniella said of the two-hour trip to Tucson. ''First of all,
we're playing the White Sox. Second of all, the game will be televised
back in Chicago.'

I have been unable to find any reports on the x-ray results following Alex Cintron's nasty encounter with that foul ball off the bat of Mark DeRosa yesterday. If you've heard or read anything, please post it in the Comments.

Update: According to, neither Cintron nor Cedeno made the trip to Tucson. Piniella says Cintron "probably could've come today, He
was a little sore. He's fortunate that he didn't get hit a little
higher because it could've cracked his cheekbone." Cedeno stayed behind to rehab a tight hamstring.



I'll be in and out of the chat room as I prepare for the big TCR fantasy draft tonight.



Did you get your hair done for the event? What are you planning to wear?

I'm going pants-less. Risky, but I think I can pull it off.

okay, now I want out of the league...

What league is drafting tonight?

16-team Yahoo pts based league with keepers...our third year...has a bunch of the "regulars" from around here.

TCR Fantasy prediction: Whoever drafts Pat Burrell will win.

Astros Kaz Matsui out 2-3 weeks with surgery on monday to repair an anal fissure, somewhere, Felix Pie's feeling just a little bit better.

Are these injuries related?

OK, I was wrong. Murton isn't only a Left-fielder, he's a DH only. For those of you watching the game on WGN Channel 9: top of the 7th, Crede on 2nd with a double, and Uribe hits a fly ball to LF that Murton loses in the sun and drops between him and Fuld (ably backing up the freckled dunderhead) who throws the ball into 3rd where we now have runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Next batter flies out to Fuld who almost doubles up Uribe at home plate.....although the fly ball would have been the 3rd out. Then Thome hits a moon shot off Cotts to RF making the score 5-3 Sox when the Cubs should have been back in the dugout getting ready to bat in the top of the 8th still leading 3-2.

For those of you who may not be familiar with how to correctly play the OF: (1) you pick up the flight of the ball and begin running towards it, (2) you put your glove up towards the sun blocking it until you get where the ball will be coming down,(3) you position yourself forward to catch the ball moving your glove at the last moment from the sun, and (4) push off your back foot throwing to the cutoff man. I have 14 year olds on my travel baseball team who know this and do it better than Murton.

This isn't just one of those things, or happens once in awhile. Anytime a ball is hit to Murton, this can and often does happen. He's a modern day 'Dr. Strangeglove' out in the field.

FYI - that was Torres in center, not Fuld. I think the bigger problem was that it didn't appear that either one of them called it.

G- Your going to ruin it for all those that think he should play RF when they move KFUK to center.

Lost a ball in the sun in spring training?

Good call, George. Carlos Beltran (who once lost two balls in the sun in one game in Florida) and Felix Pie should be DH's too, along with 2/3rds of the outfielders who have seen any significant playing time in Arizona over the last fourty years.

Good call.

Roberts deal can wait

can we please overpay for Chone Figgins and forget about Baltimore already?

It looked like Fukudome hurt his left arm or shoulder when he collided with the Sox second-baseman in the top of the 8th.

AZ Phil,

It seems to me that Micah Hoffpauir is ready to hit major league pitching. If he's not going to be a Cub, someone's gotta want this guy. Are there any trade rumors you're hearing about for him? Does he have any sort of outside shot at making the club as DLee's backup or does Ward/DeRosa render that impossible?

What do you think? His AAA numbers were solid last year... so even though he's incredibly hot right now, I don't think it's beyond reach to expect him to hit major league pitching once the bell rings this year.


Re: Fukodome-that sure was crappy coverage by the White Sox broadcasting team. The camera pulled away from Fukodome after the play, then Hawk and DJ never mentioned it again. Too reminiscent of Prior...

Submitted by TheHawk on Sat, 03/15/2008 - 5:16pm.

AZ Phil, It seems to me that Micah Hoffpauir is ready to hit major league pitching. If he's not going to be a Cub, someone's gotta want this guy. Are there any trade rumors you're hearing about for him? Does he have any sort of outside shot at making the club as DLee's backup or does Ward/DeRosa render that impossible? What do you think?

His AAA numbers were solid last year... so even though he's incredibly hot right now, I don't think it's beyond reach to expect him to hit major league pitching once the bell rings this year.



HAWK: I believe the Cubs plan to hang onto Micah Hoffpauir and that he will begin the 2008 season at AAA, and that he will get the call to replace Daryle Ward as the back-up 1B & LHPH if and when Ward goes down with an injury (as seems to happen occasionally).

I would think Hoffpauir will get a September call-up (at the very latest), presuming he doesn't suffer another season-ending injury, as happened in 2006 (oblique) and 2007 (knee surgery).

Then next year (2009), I fully expect Hoffpauir to replace Ward as the Cubs #1 LHPH and back-up first-baseman, available to give D-Lee a day off every week or two against a tough righty starter. What his future would be beyond that, I don't know.

Obviously, if another MLB club is looking for a young left-handed hitting 1B with power, Hoffpauir would be a good candidate. So I guess he could get traded, as long as the Cubs get back something that they really need. But otherwise they're not just going to dump Hoffpauir.

Do the Orioles have a 'FBOTF'?

I agree that the Cubs will like having the luxury of Hoffpaiur around in case Lee or Ward go on the DL, though.

"You know what he's making me do?" Piniella said of Hoffpauir. "He's making me decide where I can put him on the field and get his bat in the lineup, that's what he's doing. It's as simple as that. He's swinging the bat better than anybody we have in camp. He's been getting work in the outfield. We'll see.

"He wants a job, and it's good to see," Piniella said. "I wish we had a few more like him."


You continue to make my point about Murton's fielding prowess (or lack thereof). I should have said step 1A is calling for the ball. The play and Murton were in front of Torres. He's not going to run through Murton to get the ball and was rightfully thinking, "This guy knows how to catch a fly ball, right?".

You can put him in the OF, give him a glove, but it doesn't make Murton an outfielder. He's a professional hitter playing in the league without the DH.

so has neil cotts pretty muchwrote his ticket to iowa yet? yes

also has kevin hart has pretty much made the team ? yes

will the cubs make one or two trades before beginning of season ? one

just a few questions to anyone who wants to respond.

from the sunday sun-times:

"He (Piniella) also said right-hander Kevin Hart has locked up a setup job."

Wood, Howry, Marmol, Wuertz, Eyre and Hart (6)

Z, Lilly, Hill, (Lieber, Marquis, Marshall, Dempster) (7)

I can see Marshall starting in Iowa, but it's looking more likely that Dempster will get moved back to the bullpen unless someone is gone in a trade. Lahey probably won't stick although he's been decent so they might play their ptbnl chip from the Monroe trade as it looks like Monroe will make the Twins roster.

Lahey has done well. My fear is that he won't pass waivers to get to be the Twins PTBNL chip. I mean why would the Cubs pay Tampa to take him first overall unless they thought there was at least a chance that someone else would take him before their 19th pick?

The Sun-Times had an interview published today with Buerhle and Zambrano.

Question: Could you ever imagine pitching on the other side of town?

Buerhle: ''Hmm, it has been brought up, kind of with the family joking around, being Cardinals fans. Being on the South Side now, North Side fans don't like me too much. One, because I play for the White Sox. And two, because I'm a Cardinals fan. But if no one else wants me and the Cubs want to sign me, then I have to have a job somewhere, so, yeah, I would sign there. But going into free agency, I never looked at the Cubs as an option.''

Zambrano: ''I told my family and my friends that before my career ends, I want to play for the White Sox. Right now, my priority is helping this club. That's what I am trying to do. But I used to be, when I was growing up, I was a White Sox fan. But every time I say that, the Chicago Cubs fans get jealous and pissed off.''

this is 3/44 but even Bruce Miles in the Herald had a note on the Sun-Times rumor of Ceda/Veal/Gallagher/Cedeno offer for he who shall not be named.

Pulp fiction: Some Cubs people were angered Friday to read a report saying pitching prospect Jose Ceda had joined pitchers Sean Gallagher and Donnie Veal and infielder Ronny Cedeno in a proposed deal to Baltimore for Brian Roberts. More than one Cubs person said no such deal is on the table.

What happened to the old Cub reporter that I used to know and love? The old site was fresh with good banter and news and easy to use. I used to look forward to visiting the old Cub reporter.

I see the future of this site as the same as Desipio: A once fledgling site now a shell of it's former self.

I think this is actually getting funny. I chuckle now when the same guy posts this every 3rd or 4th day.

Awesome, we accept the offer to be the official band for TCR.

I think the new site is an absolute improvement over the old site, but I agree that the "banter" on the comments is lacking for whatever reason.

It doesn't make any sense to me. TCR has improved their site and kept the same writers, and we know MVN had nothing to do with the sites success. Maybe things will pick up once the season starts. It is, after all, March 16th.

I think the new site is an absolute improvement over the old site, but I agree that the "banter" on the comments is lacking for whatever reason

I think it's this tiny text. Hard to banter if you can't see the comments.


Jerry Blevins was sent to AAA by Oakland but my guess is he'll get called up during the season if he does OK.

he was the AA lefty reliever prospect sent for Kendall last year...I think the Cubs do get a draft pick via the Brewers as they signed Kendall before the deadline. Others can detail this better though.

I also noticed that Kendall underwent Lasik eye surgery after the 2007 season...doubt that will help his throwing (maybe he wasn't able to see 2nd base?) but it might help his hitting.

Silent Towel, is that you?

Recent comments

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  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 36 min 48 sec ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 7 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 20 hours 18 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 20 hours 23 min ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 20 hours 28 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 20 hours 40 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 20 hours 51 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 21 hours 16 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 21 hours 56 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 23 hours 8 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 23 hours 25 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 23 hours 30 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 14 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 6 hours ago view