TCR Friday Notes

- Bruce Miles and the beat writers are back in business with the start of spring training. Miles says Geovany Soto has come to camp in great shape, Z is sporting a 'stache and will not pitch for Venezuela in the WBC. He also says that Z is holding off on laser eye surgery due to an infection and some odd eye geometry on his behalf. There appears to be some video at the Trib of Z and the Cubs in Arizona on the sidebar, but I can't get it to load.

- Fangraphs takes a look at the best outfield arms and comes to the shocking revelation that Alfonso Soriano is good and Juan Pierre is not. 

- An interview with the Phils former GM, Pat Gillick, gives some insight on the Cubs corner outfielder pursuit this winter.

--On whether the Phillies may have overpaid for Ibanez (three years, $31.5 million), given the one-year, $6 million deal that Bobby Abreu
just signed with the Angels: "The Cubs were after [Ibanez] pretty
thick. Lou [Piniella] and he had a good relationship, so I think Lou
was plugging pretty hard for him. I don't think [the Phillies could've
waited]. The Cubs were searching for left-hand hitting. My opinion is I
would prefer Ibanez to Milton Bradley, just from an
injury standpoint. Milton Bradley to me is an American League player, a
DH/part-time outfielder. He's not a day-in, day-out player in the
National League."

- Former top Cubs prospect Billy Petrick has signed on with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League to try and get his career back on track.

- The hits keep coming for the Brewers.  Bill Hall is out 4-6 weeks with a partial tear of his left calf muscle and Tom Haudricourt goes over their - ahem - starting pitching depth (Cliff Notes version....not much).

- I've got the bulk of our archives from May 2005 to present day finally in (with February 2006 curiously missing) after a few false starts. I still have to finish up 2007 which should happen this weekend. I'm hopeful we can still locate and secure 2003, 2004 and the rest of 2005, but I'm not holding my breath either (thank you Unfortunately when they imported our archives from to, all the articles defaulted to different authors depending on when they did it. So a lot of the material is currently attributed to me or Arizona Phil for whatever reason, but eventually we'll get it fixed and cleaned up to the best of our abilities.

In the meantime, reading through the comments and articles of old has been quite fun the last few days for myself. A few examples (I'm linking to the month rather than the individual article so you can scroll through some other headlines if you wish):

2007 Preview

- Cubs Trade Ryu

- The Fun that was 2006 (the snark in the headlines is fantastic)

- The End of the Baker/McPhail Era

Enjoy the holiday weekend....


We usually get to about a dozen Windy City games a year, living 5 miles north of the park. I look forward to watching Petrick. They've won the Frontier League championship the last 2 years running, so they run some pretty good talent out there. Steve Trout was pitching coach one season, 2006 I believe. When they were the Cook County Cheetahs, Ron LeFlore "managed" them but at that time had trouble managing his life and didn't last too long. The FL has sent more than its fair share of players back to affiliated baseball, as well as three or four who hit the big leagues.

I used to do radio for the T'Bolts. We had former Cub prospect great Bo Flowers at the time. In a related story, they sucked then.

That's all the info I have on that.

I would love to hear Gillick's opinion on Wes Helms and Geoff Jenkins.

I keep looking at it, and besides trading for Lidge, Gillick didn't really make any great moves in his time as Phillies GM. I guess GM'ing, like in most things in life, it's better to be lucky than good. You can't argue with the guys' success, though.

Gotta hand it to her, she's pumping out columns daily.
The latest ( revolves around Lou Piniella.

teasers: One reason for the off-season moves was to create a team that will allow him to rest the starters during the season. (Which seems to imply that a spot on the 25-man is there for Micah Hoffpauir's taking if DLee is going to get regular rest.)

Dempster has taken Wood's locker.

Appendix to the post...better pic of Z's stache.

Did you happen to see the first comment under the pics?

Steroid stash, which I assume is in reference to Zambrano. Too funny!

the Neifi double error game...

ah, the memories...

nice one.

that's the one i got tired of superj's crap.

got yelled at for not wanting fontenot playing SS, too. actually, got told i hate him even though i had a ton of posts for a year-ish of how i was a fan of him...just not at SS.

i love it when people tell me what i mean even when i fully explain it.

3 shitty dumpster closing outtings in a row, and it's all about some noofie and the shock he's doing the exact same thing people had been bitching about for 2 years.

at that point it's like being shocked soriano is a lead off hitter.

Ugh. Rosenbloom probably thinks he coined "A-Roid."

I heard Bill Melton on the Score this morning offer the same kind of easy 2008-based putdowns of BP. Unfortunately for him, he continued: "I guess what they're looking at is we don't really have a starting center fielder...or a second baseman, I mean a confirmed second baseman...and the back of the rotation has some question marks..." LOL

That was just awful.

The only possible explanation is that he's hung like a horse and schtupping someone important.

It sort of pisses me off, though, because most of us have to work for a living.

I think every paper has to carry a couple paid assassins and Rosen-bore is one of the Trib's. Morrissey is the other one, a little less bombastic but always Boers-like in his crustiness. The Times had Mariotti, I don't read their columnists too much so I am not sure who picked up that torch. Maybe Telander is the college-guy's version. Imren at the Herald is not often a happy guy either.

that tribune link in the TCR friday notes (the part that links: some video at the Trib) has an article by Paul Sullivan quoting Piniella.

Something about Get It Done...

here's the correct link with more accurate quotes:

Bruce Levine weighs in on ARod:

"Chicks don't dig the long ball -- accountants dig the long ball."

Lee Hacksaw Hamilton on XM just said something that sounded to me like Cubs outfielder "Kazoo" Fukudome will start in RF but Lou Piniella isn't happy with his play


was he reading a shredded Carrie Muskat article?

speaking of Fukudome, he won't join the team until mid-March most likely..

plenty of time for Joey Gathright to get on Lou's good graces and earn a starting job..

kill me now...

2006... Don't remind me. It was agonizing.

" On whether the Phillies may have overpaid for Ibanez (three years, $31.5 million), given the one-year, $6 million deal that Bobby Abreu just signed with the Angels: "The Cubs were after [Ibanez] pretty thick. Lou [Piniella] and he had a good relationship, so I think Lou was plugging pretty hard for him. I don't think [the Phillies could've waited]. The Cubs were searching for left-hand hitting. My opinion is I would prefer Ibanez to Milton Bradley, just from an injury standpoint. Milton Bradley to me is an American League player, a DH/part-time outfielder. He's not a day-in, day-out player in the National League."

This is pretty 3/44 Rob G. Why post this again, after it was pretty meaningless yesterday? Just a slow day, or was it particularly meaningful to you?

Again - of course Gillick is going to stick with his pick - duh...

I was more interested that the Cubs seemed to prefer Ibanez...

and a lot of readers don't read the comments....



reading is fucking stupid.

And by "the Cubs" you mean Piniella? Gillick's information from that is probably based on newspaper reports and what Ibanez's agent told him.

maybe so...

Rob G posted a link to an Onion baseball-related article in the previous thread. That lead me to to a pretty funny Onion video on the ONN (Onion News Network), entitled, "Use of 'N-work' May End Porn Star's Career".

Definitely NSFW, but damn funny. Watching it made me think of TCR, for some reason.

"It's filthy and disturbing, you know, in a bad way."

Love it. The Onion videos are effing outrageous.

My fav is the one about "should we close the money hole?"

Ryno, I know nothing about you, but if you are amused by the Onion. Shit. Okay, I'll start with Fawlty Towers. I mean, Onion writers? Funny? I could snare 3/4 of the dudes who comment here and create a better site.

Sorry, I'm old.

In fact, let's start it now.

I've made few comments and we all know I'm funny but let's do a best of TCR.

Lee Smith was nice, where's Dave?

The Onion was hilarious when it was still running out of Wisconsin. When they moved the operation to NY a few years back, it went down the tubes. You can get it for free now on the North Side and their paper boxes are rarely ever empty. They need T. Herman Zweibel back!

100% agreed. I think their atmosphere in WI probably contributed a lot to their orignal humor, whereas NY just contributes extra cynicism.

she'll be lucky to ever work again

Your lucky mama

Nothing pisses me off more than this fucking headline every year.
Every year, my wife goes, "what's wrong?"
"Never mind," I say.
"No, something is pissing you off."
"Insert the fucking manager name," I say.
"What?" she asks, somewhat concerned.
"We haven't had a cool fucking center fielder since Rick Monday."
"But hon, you're an old liberal."

about the Cubs 3-card monte game they like to play with injury news..

The Sun-Times/Gordon Wittenmyer article (link in post #33) is full of interesting stuff and GW bluntly says that the Cubs still are not upfront with releasing medical info with the last episode late disclosure following misinformation regarding Harden. Everyone here knows this but it's just good to see it in the major print media. No wonder I've favored GW over Sullivan.
But they have no one to blame but themselves for the extended media attention this kind of thing gets or the longer term perception that the team tries to misdirect or deceive the public about injuries.

Because that's exactly what they keep doing. And it makes little sense.

Hendry focused Friday on the fact that the injury is nothing new. Of course, I never said it was. But it was newsworthy. Because of the way the team and player chose intentional vagueness in describing it all along.

Can anybody tell me what the advantage is in omitting those details and being vague about these things? It's not like the Cubs have to protect the information for the purposes of shopping Harden or for any on-the-field competitive reasons (scouts have eyes).

I've covered three other teams in my career, and the ones that were most up front about these kinds of things had the fewest headaches with the way the information got out. And the fans stayed well informed, without the yo-yo effect.

It's not that tough.

I'm confused when Wittenmeyer says Hendry insisted Friday this all was old news..

Bruce Miles reported this quote a few days ago, "I didn't know that he wasn't OK, when all that stuff started at the convention," Hendry said of a report Harden has a minor tear in the shoulder."

Is Hendry insisting that Harden is okay or is he saying this tear is news to him or what?

As for Hendry being a "straight shooter" (not a liar), I looked it up and it seems to have started with an interview where Hendry described himself as a straight shooter.

IOW, he's self-described and it stuck.

Well, according to players signed to contracts currently, and those that have left,
I honestly cannot think of anything to the contrary concerning Hendry's ethics.

Rich Harden didn't throw off the mound with the other Cubs pitchers on Saturday at Fitch Park, but there's no reason to panic. The right-hander did throw long toss and was seen smiling a lot on the first day of workouts. He's looking forward to 20-something starts with the Cubs and eager to put an end to the non-stop questions regarding his shoulder.

Harden spent most of this past winter in Arizona rather than Canada, working with strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss, and called it his best offseason yet. The Cubs would be happy with 25 starts from the right-hander, which is how many Harden made last season combined with Oakland and Chicago.

spin, spin, spin...

Is it ever a good sign when both the organization and the pitcher are either looking forward to or would be happy with 20-some starts?

"Don't read anything into it. We've got a much longer spring than normal, so we don't really need to rush anybody," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's been throwing and feels nice and strong and healthy. Basically we're just holding him back a little."

Bruce Miles blog from yesterday is chock full of info on Harden.
The most sought-after guy was Rich Harden, he of the tear-non-tear-strained-issues-oriented right shoulder.

Harden has been loath to say exactly what's been up with the shoulder, but he did say he's felt better than ever after a full winter of workouts down here. "I would say that," he said. "It's probably the strongest my shoulder's felt. I'm excited for the start of the season here."

After that, I asked him about the "terminology" for what he's got. "Everybody's got their opinions," he said. "It's funny. People are telling me that they're reading this and that. Whatever. There's nothing, nothing that bad."

Even a strained shoulder means that there are micro-tears, so if you want to use the word "tear," nobody around here is denying that, even if they aren't confirming it, either. That said, it doesn't mean Harden hasn't strengthened the shoulder sufficiently and that he can't dial it up and pitch well this year. Kerry Wood did a pretty good job of it last year.
from the comment section:

•This issue regarding his shoulder is beginning to sound too much like Prior all over again.. Hopefully not, though. (BearsCubs)

•That was my first reaction, having lived through the Prior/prior nightmares. This is a little more nuanced. Kerry Wood made no bones about having a tear in his shoulder and telling us. A Cubs guy said Rich likes to handle it his own way. I'll give him that, respecting his privacy. I've always felt that if a team and/or player just comes out and says what the deal is, we deal with it and move on instead of operating under all this mystery. It's fair to say he's got some sort of tear in there.

As I said, the proof will be in how he throws the ball and how long he lasts. (BMiles)

He knows the word "tear" makes people skittish. There may be a tear, but it's nothing to fret about. Surgery was not something Harden considered.
I'll say it again. Having a non-full thickness rotator cuff tear (ala Kerry Wood) can be managed non-surgically and that's what they are doing... including a spring training that will cast echos from the ghosts of springs past:
compare and contrast:

Harden:The right-hander did throw long toss and was seen smiling a lot on the first day of workouts.

Wood: "I'm letting it go and throwing all my pitches," Wood said. "It's nice to go on the mound and actually work on stuff instead of worrying if it's going to hurt. It's nice to get up and go."

He'd like to avoid the disabled list. Wood began last season still rehabbing from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, which he had in August 2005. He was able to pitch in four games from May 18 to June 6, but they weren't good outings and his velocity was off.

When the tear was revealed, Wood opted to skip another operation and rehab. That tear may never completely heal.

"Probably not all the way, but it's definitely strong enough to do it's job," he said. (2-14-07)
Prior: "I had some issues," Prior said. "I had some significant things I had to correct. He saw some things [in his shoulder] that weren't as good as he'd like to see in a 26-year-old."

Prior has "looseness" in his shoulder, which is genetic, and which helps his delivery but also means he has to do a lot of shoulder strengthening exercises. His problems began when he collided with Atlanta's Marcus Giles in 2003. (2-16-07)
Wood: Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood did his long toss drills on Friday, and may be ahead of schedule..."It's pretty amazing," Wood said Friday. "It feels pretty good today, and today's better than yesterday. I expect the same tomorrow." (3-10-06)
Prior: Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior is taking a different approach in an attempt to get through Spring Training injury-free.

"We're doing a lot more endurance," Prior said Tuesday. "I've been on throwing programs before but this is a little bit more structured and we're trying to build up more arm strength, doing extended amounts of sets, if that makes sense. I'm sitting out there throwing 20, 25 at a certain distance, then taking a little break, then going back a little farther.

"It's a lot more structured," he said. "I think I'm responding to it well. We talked about it last year to take it slower, a little more methodical. I don't enjoy not being on the mound right now. But whatever you're dealt with, you deal with it." (2-21-06)

harden article...

also of interest..

"Notes: Piniella said left-hander Sean Marshall has the edge in the competition for the fifth starter's role. Aaron Heilman, Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin and rookie Mitch Atkins, who won 17 games in the minors last year, will also get a look. .."


Is Hendry insisting that Harden is okay or is he saying this tear is news to him or what?
I think Hendry believes Harden is OK (but fragile) and that he knows Harden has a partial thickness cuff tear. The tear info was told to JH after the October MRI-Arthrogram Harden underwent when the season ended. It was as much for the pitcher to plan treatment (even a non-surgical treatment plan) but it also was useful so the Cubs could decide to pick up Harden's option (or not if his condition warranted surgery).

Here's the link to my article on Harden when the news of his "tear" came out in the Cubs convention. I pretty clearly go over the time sequence of news events.

the reason Gordon Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times was irked stems from this mis-information last October.

The press was told this on October 8th:
General manager Jim Hendry said an MRI-arthrogram on Harden's shoulder revealed no tears of the labrum or rotator cuff, referring to Harden's problems as "subtle instability in the shoulder."

Then in January, Hendry goes with the "tear in the joint" info. Hendry doesn't invent the terminology, He should just repeat what the medical staff tells him and that's what leads to these things.

The October statement is not compatible with the January statement. Maybe the press needs to get their info straight from the doctors, that way JH can't hide under the "I didn't understand the difference in medical terminology" umbrella. I think after all these years and all these pitchers, Hendry DOES know the difference.

Methinks GW's got a very valid point.

one more doing the archive research above I found the definition as to the purpose of the towel drill. Hooboy. It's the ultimate rehab article as it discusses Wade Miller, Kerry Wood, Prior and Angel Guzman. Superfecta!

Mark Prior also did his long-toss drills early as well as some towel drills off the mound. The towel drills are designed to get the pitchers back on the mound, acclimated to the slope and getting their balance.


"I boldly predict that we're going to have a breakfast spread tomorrow and peanut butter and jelly for lunch," Dempster said. "I'm pretty sure that's going to happen."

I dusted this link off for you guys. The Onion video discussion got me thinking about this:

I think we talked about it back when it came out but watch it again. Since the A-Rod thing has come out, it's relevant again.

Still cracks me up.

just as awesome the 2nd time...

Very funny. And the best part is it's not The Onion, so it's still acceptable and trendy to enjoy it.

Not so fast. The host of that clip now hosts the morning program on the Onion's video segments, so you can't watch it without thinking about how he's sold out.


*high five*

Torre on bringing Manny back:'s-absence-wouldn't-be-a-distraction

The truth of it is that the Dodgers are probably waiting for Manny to finish the Torre's book before he decides if he wants to play there.

From GW, here is a list of pitching staffs over the last ten years. Remember these?

* 2007 | Record: 85-77 Lilly (34), Zambrano (34), Marquis (33), Rich Hill (32), Sean Marshall (19).

* 2006 | Record: 66-96 Zambrano (33), Marshall (24), Greg Maddux (22), Rich Hill (16), Carlos Marmol (13), Angel Guzman (10), Juan Mateo (10).

* 2005 | Record: 79-83 Maddux (35), Zambrano (33), Mark Prior (27), Glendon Rusch (19), Jerome Williams (17), Kerry Wood (10).

* 2004 | Record: 89-73 Maddux (33), Zambrano (31), Matt Clement (30), Kerry Wood (22), Mark Prior (21), Glendon Rusch (16).

* 2003 | Record: 88-74 Clement (32), Wood (32), Zambrano (32), Prior (30), Shawn Estes (28).

* 2002 | Record: 67-95 Wood (33), Clement (32), Jon Lieber (21), Mark Prior (19), Jason Bere (16), Zambrano (16).

* 2001 | Record: 88-74 Lieber (34), Bere (32), Kevin Tapani (29), Julian Tavarez (28), Wood (28).

* 2000 | Record: 65-97 Lieber (35), Tapani (30), Wood (23), Scott Downs (18), Ruben Quevedo (15), Ismael Valdez (12).

* 1999 | Record: 67-95 Steve Trachsel (34), Lieber (31), Tapani (23), Kyle Farnsworth (21), Terry Mulholland (16), Micah Bowie (11), Andrew Lorraine (11).

5 starters= winning year. 6+ starters = losing year, with the exception of Glendon Rusch's usefulness in 2004.

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  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 9 hours 23 min ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 9 hours 24 min ago view
  • that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 9 hours 37 min ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 9 hours 37 min ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 9 hours 45 min ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 9 hours 58 min ago view
  • fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle

    crunch 10 hours 31 min ago view
  • ...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.

    he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.

    ...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.

    crunch 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • his collapse started on august 21st this it's a slight improvement.

    but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.

    crunch 10 hours 47 min ago view
  • I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.

    Jackstraw 11 hours 6 min ago view
  • The always combustible Jason Hammel

    jacos 11 hours 26 min ago view
  • Hammel :(

    Charlie 11 hours 27 min ago view
  • That was fun.

    Charlie 14 hours 27 min ago view
  • "home field advantage through the playoffs?"

    Except for the away games.

    VirginiaPhil 14 hours 40 min ago view