I'm officially bored of spring training....let the games begin!!!! Rich Hill versus fellow lefty Jorge de la Rosa today at Hohokam Park. The Kerry Wood news from Will Carroll doesn't sound too bad, far less damning than Mr. Wittenmeyer's speculation that Wood will be fortunate to be back by June.
It's bad, in that any setback is bad, especially to a shoulder we already know is both fragile and damaged. What's not so bad is that sources tell me that pain is not in the back of the shoulder, but rather nearer the triceps where Wood has already had problems this spring. After seeing Wood's last outing, it's hard to see any mechanical difference--he's still stepping across his body, and it still looks like scapular dyskinesis could be an issue beyond the triceps and damaged cuff. It's still unclear how long this will sideline Wood, but Opening Day is out for sure. Whether he makes it back and can hold up as a reliever remains to be seen.
Hey, don't we have a doctor in the house? Time for Cubster to chime in... UPDATE: Piniella says the news on Wood is "encouraging." From Sullivan's article:
"A lot of the soreness and pain is gone," Piniella said. "We'll continue to evaluate him over the next few days. Whatever he can do, we'll allow 'em to do."
Wood was evaluated by a team physician Monday. The Cubs are referring to Wood's injury as "shoulder fatigue" and he's being treated with anti-inflammatories. He'll be evaluated "day-to-day."
Mark Prior gets his final ST start tomorrow, facing the Colorado Rockies at HoHoKam Park. But with Wade Miller's outstanding outing at Scottsdale Stadium last Saturday (5 IP, three hits, no runs, no walks, and four strikeouts), it appears that Miller has all but nailed-down the 5th spot in the Cubs starting rotation.
Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez each had three hits and two RBI, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tempe's Diablo Stadium today. box score
The Cubs cut four more from their spring training roster including uber-prospect Felix Pie. The other three were all non-roster invitees - Tomas Perez, Les Walrond and Koyie Hill. 31 players remain in camp with six more cuts needed to be made. I would guess.... To the DL: Kerry Wood (pesky shoulder) Mark Prior (they'll invent something so he can hang back in Arizona and get some work in) To the Minors: Rocky Cherry Buck Coats (has a knee injury as is) Angel Pagan Juan Mateo Prior might just get sent down to the minors as well.
The Angels once again, lefty Joe Saunders goes for them, the Cubs with Jason Marquis on the mound.
It looks like poor Kerry Wood has gone and done it again, another year, another arm injury. The details have yet to come out but something didn't go right after yesterday's outing and it could just be a re-aggravation of the triceps strain from earlier in spring training or possibly a brand spanking new one to add to the trophy case. Once the Cubs P.R. department figures out how to spin this one finish diagnosing the injury, Wood will likely be put on the disabled list (once again) and it looks like Angel Guzman will travel East with the team come Opening Day. UPDATE: Although an exam has yet to be performed or at least the results yet to be reported, word is that it was the shoulder causing him problems and Wood has been shut down until further notice.
Ted Lilly threw six shutout innings for the Cubs, but the Angels rallied for three runs against Kerry Wood in the 7th, and hung-on to defeat the Cubs 3-2 before a national WGN-TV audience and a capacity crowd of 12,727 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score
Angels visit the Cubs today, Ted Lilly takes the mound against Ervin Santana. The game is on WGN I believe. Man I wish the season started tomorrow.
In what was one of the best outings by any Cubs starting pitcher so far this ST, Wade Miller tossed five innings of shutout ball and appeared (in the process) to have maybe nailed down the 5th starter job, as the Cubs defeated the Giants 3-2 at Scottsdale Stadium today. box score
Carlos Zambrano threw six innings of one run ball, Ronny Cedeno and Aramis Ramirez hit home runs, Mark DeRosa was 2-4 with a single and a double, and Michael Barrett was on base four straight times on two singles and two walks, as the Cubs defeated the Giants 6-2 before a capacity crowd of 12,752 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score
Opening Day is still more than a week off, but the prognostication season is well under way. Sports Illustrated’s annual preview was mentioned here yesterday, but The Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus are also out with their player-by-player predictions, as is Baseball Think Factory’s Dan Szymborski, father of the ZIPS Projections.

THT, BP (with their PECOTA Projections) and Szymborski each employs a unique methodology, which I won’t even try to summarize or explain. Regardless, I thought it would be worthwhile to stack all three sets of Cub player predictions side by side, focusing on the eight likely starting position players plus Cliff Floyd, the five starting pitchers including Wade Miller, and the closer, Ryan Dempster.

The THT numbers come from their most excellent season preview book featuring the work of one Rob G.; the Baseball Prospectus numbers come from BP 2007; and I pulled the ZIPS Projections from the Baseball Think Factory site. (Thanks again, Dan, for your permission to use them here.)

Also, to round out the field, I consulted my old friend, Phil, a very smart, very dedicated Cub fan who can calculate slugging percentages in his head and who, coincidentally, turned me on to The Cub Reporter what seems like a very long time ago. Phil employed no simulation models or complicated algorithms in coming up with his picks, but rather, a time-honored technique called educated guesswork that took about 15 minutes.

The Cubs stay home in Mesa to play the first of back-to-back games versus the Giants, Zambrano vs. Lowry today.
I have a few here I've been saving for a slow day....
  1. Who holds the single-season record for most home runs by a Cubs rookie?
  2. Who has hit the most home runs as a pitcher in Cubs history...bonus if you can name how many?
  3. In 1962, The Chicago Cubs used the first African American Major League Baseball coach. Who was he?
  4. Who was the youngest pitcher in Chicago Cubs history?
  5. Name the winningest left-handed pitcher in Cubs history...by total number of wins?
As always, do your best to answer without the benefit of a web search...
Mark Prior threw four solid innings at Peoria in his best outing of the Spring, and Jeff Samardzija threw four shutout innings in a minor league game at Fitch Park today, before the next round of thunderstorms crashed through the Valley of the Sun.
More drama with another Mark Prior start today...snore. Greg Maddux takes the hill for the Padres. Rich Hill set to relieve Prior, supposedly after four innings but I'd start warming up early if I was Hill.

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