March 2007

Wuertz Makes Club

Well that didn't take long, two spring training innings and Lou has seen enough to say that Michael Wuertz has made the club.
"He competes well, he throws strikes, he's done a nice job," Piniella said of the right-hander, who compiled a 2.66 ERA in 41 games last season for the Cubs. "As long as he stays healthy the rest of the spring and gets his work in, he'll be on the team."

Cubs Bats Come Alive, Simultaneously Sink Mariners and Detox Brewers

A day after they were shutout on two hits by a trio of Angels pitchers at Diablo Stadium in Tempe, a Cubs split squad exploded for 22 hits, defeating a Seattle Mariners split squad 16-4 before a crowd of 8,625 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score - CUBS VS SEA at MESA

Deer Hunting?

Mr. Scoop Ken Rosenthal breaks out another Cubs rumor, saying the Cubs and Rangers are exploring the possibility of a trade for Rockies infielder Clint Barmes. Barmes will be losing his starting job to uber-prospect Troy Tulowitzki this season, but Rosenthal speculates that they'll just hold onto Barmes in hopes that he'll compete for the starting second base job next year.

Can I Get “Things Dusty Would Never Say” for $600 Alex?

Lou says...
"I've never really bunted early. I'm going to run, hit-and-run, steal, double steal, but I don't like the idea of bunting early in a game. Late in the game with a 3-2 lead, 4-2 lead, you get the first couple of runners on, you're looking to tack on, I like the bunt then."
and for $800

Gameday Open Thread / Cubs @ Angels

Z takes the mound versus the "Mighty Angels of Anaheim located near the metropolis known as Los Angeles" who put John Lackey on the mound. The game happens to be on television out here in L.A., so I'll mention anything worth mentioning after the game that I didn't miss while trying to keep an eye on the NCAA tournament.

Padres Spoil Cubs St. Patrick’s Day Party at HoHoKam

Jose Cruz, Jr and Kevin Kouzmanoff each hit two-run home runs, as the San Diego Padres defeated the Cubs 7-3 before a capacity St. Patrick's Day crowd of 12,764 and an international WGN-TV audience at extremely hot (record-setting mid-90's) and sunny Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score

Gameday Open Thread / Padres @ Cubs

St. Patrick's Day (Drink) and the Cubs and Padres break out the green caps (Drink). Rich Hill is on the mound for the Cubs (Drink) and has given up three early runs through the first inning and two-thirds (Drink). Maddux was supposed to start for the Padres (Drink) but was held back in favor of a minor league start and Tim Stauffer started (Drink) for the Padres and gave up an early three-run dinger to Derrek in the first (Drink).

Following In The Footsteps Of Ruben Quevedo

In honor of Wade Miller (the Frontrunner), Angel Guzman (the Contender, at least until earlier today), and Mark Prior (the Bystander), here is a list of recent Cubs' #5 starters, defined as the pitcher with the fifth most starts in a given season. Note: portions may be unsuitable for more sensitive viewers. 1997: Frank Castillo, 19 starts, 98 IP, 6-9, 5.42 1998: Geremi Gonzalez, 20 starts, 110 IP, 7-7, 5.32 1999: Terry Mulholland, 16 starts, 110 IP, 6-6, 5.15 2000: Ruben Quevedo, 15 starts, 88 IP, 3-10, 7.47 2001: Julian Taverez, 28 starts, 161.3 IP, 10-9, 4.52

Gameday Open Thread / Cubs @ White Sox

Angel Guzman takes the mound in another round of "5th Starter Idol", will he do enough against the homer happy White Sox (leading all teams in homers this spring and tied for third in total runs) to keep from getting voted off? The White Sox send Javier Vazquez to the mound for us to tee off on (hopefully). Michael Wuertz is set to make his first appearance in Cactus League action as well.

This Angel May Have Wings

Mr. Scoop Ken Rosenthal breaks out the rumor mill:
Alex Sanchez seems likely to win the Marlins' center-field job, but the team has kicked around the idea of pursuing the Cubs' Angel Pagan, a switch-hitter who might not make the team's Opening Day roster. The Cubs are looking for a middle infielder who can play shortstop, and the Marlins' Robert Andino could fill that role.

Cubs Big Bats Torpedo S. S. Mariner

Cliff Floyd hit a three-run homer and doubled, Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run home run, Alfonso Soriano went 3-3 with two singles, a triple, a stolen base, and a run scored, and Jacque Jones (a single and a double and two runs scored) and Matt Murton (a single and a walk) reached base twice, as the Cubs defeated the S. S. Mariner (that's "S. S.," as in "Split Squad") before a capacity crowd of 12,771 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score

Match The Ex-Cub To The Excuse

This former Northsider is now feeling as fit as a sub-replacement level fiddle. But that wasn't the case last season:
“(He) fought through a sports hernia all of last season with the Cubs... He underwent surgery for that. Even bigger… he finally underwent an operation to clean out loose bodies in his throwing elbow.”
Any guesses?

Roster Crunching, 40-Man Style

Almost every year, one or two Non-Roster Invitees (NRI) contend for a spot on the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. This year, it appears that veteran utility INF Tomas Perez has the best shot among the NRI to make the Opening Day 25, since Manager Lou Piniella says he believes the Cubs will need two utility middle-infielders. Ryan Theriot is definitely one, and unless the Cubs go outside the organization and make a trade for somebody like Marlins supersub (SS-2B-CF) Alfredo Amezaga, Perez would seem to be the logical front-runner to become the Cubs second utility infielder. But who are the other candidates, and if Perez does get the job, who gets dropped from the Cubs 40-man roster?

Soriano Will Play CF

Mr. Scoop Ken Rosenthal at Foxsports.com breaks the news that really didn't need to be broken. The Soriano center field experiment has received FDA approval and will be good to go starting in April. The man of few words, Lou Piniella explains:
"We'll know by the third week of March, another seven or eight games," manager Lou Piniella told FOXSports.com on Monday. "But truthfully, I can almost come to that conclusion now."

Cubs Cut 14, ST Roster Now at 44

The Cubs announced 14 roster cuts after today's game in Scottsdale, bringing their Spring Training roster down to 44 players. OPTIONED TO IOWA (AAA): Scott Moore, IF-OF Clay Rapada, LHP OPTIONED TO TENNESSEE (AA): Brian Dopirak, 1B OPTIONED TO DAYTONA (Hi-A) : Jeff Samardzija, RHP SENT TO MINOR LEAGUE CAMP (NRI) Jason Anderson, RHP

Gameday Open Thread / Giants @ Cubs

Z takes the mound in Cactus League action against the Giants and Matt Morris. Matt Morris of course was a former Cardinal who married a Cubs beat reporter. What does this have to do with anything? Not much, but it bugged me the first time I read it and it bugs me everytime I see his ugly mug. A few quick notes/links:

Lou Can Be Funny

Amusing comment from Lou Piniella in Monday morning’s Tribune story about Mark Prior being scheduled for a start in the minor league camp this coming Thursday.
“Get him to go down there and relax, and just pitch. He doesn't have to answer to the media. Hopefully you guys will all be over [at HoHoKam Park] at the 'A' game. Leave him alone, and let him pitch."

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