Daryle Ward

In one of those magic moments that seem to happen during every team's playoff run, Daryle Ward went from one of the Cubs 2008 goats to Northside hero. His three-run homer in the top of the ninth was good for a .647 WPA, which seems to be the biggest hit of the Cubs season.

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Before that astonishing at-bat, Ward was 0 for his last 10, 4 for his last 29, and 4 for 40 as a pinch-hitter this season. Nothing like a big surprise in a big package.

Daryle Ward went 2-3 and scored a run, and Sean Hoorelbeke and Dwayne Kemp drove in two runs a piece with RBI doubles, as the AZL Cubs and AZL Angels played to a 5-5 tie at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in what was a final tune-up for AZL Opening Day on Sunday.

Ward, who played 1B and hit 3rd in the order, left the game amidst the usual handshakes, hugs, and kisses that accompany a "rehabber" leaving for the airport in the middle of a game. Whether DW will end up in Iowa or Tennessee is apparently still TBD. But if all goes well at who knows where, Ward is supposed to rejoin the Cubs next week In Chicago.  

Angel Guzman threw two innings (25 pitches - 19 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO) in an AZL Cubs intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, allowing two runs (one ER) on two hits, with no walks and two stikeouts (both swinging). 
 
Also, Daryle Ward continued his rehab at Fitch Park, with an extended pre-game BP session in which he clubbed bomb after bomb over the RF fence. He also shagged some fly balls in RF.

Angel Guzman (on the 60-day DL while rehabbing from 2007 TJS) threw two innings (28 pitches) in an intrasquad game, and Daryle Ward (on the 15-day DL while rehabbing from a back injury) took an extended BP session, as the AZL Cubs spent their first day home alone at Fitch Park. 

Also, three more players signed out of the recent Rule 4 Draft have reported to Fitch Park, bringing the count up to 22 drafted players signed (with 29 still unsigned), plus three non-drafted free-agents (NDFA) signed.

A few more of the recently drafted players arrived at Fitch Park today, including catcher Luis Flores (7th round pick out of Oklahoma State) and OF Tony Campana (13th round pick out of U. of Cincinnati). Both were immediately assigned to Boise.   

And speaking of Boise, the Boise Hawks roster was posted in the Fitch Park clubhouse today, with 27 players assigned.

There apparently was a change in the itinerary for the Boise Hawks, as the roster will not be announced until after today's workout, and the team will not leave for Idaho until after tomorrow's work-out.

Therefore (naturally), there was another intrasquad game today.

In addition, Cubs 1B Daryle Ward, who is on the 15-day DL with a back problem, has finally arrived at Fitch Park.

Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune that the Cubs will recall Micah Hoffpauir from Iowa as the team begins its interleague schedule with three games at SkyDome this weekend. Lou Piniella's plan is to let Hoffpauir play first base and left field, which will alternately allow Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano to "rest" as they see DH duty.

Daryle Ward, still on the DL, took batting practice Tuesday and according to Sullivan "will report to the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday to get
some at-bats before going on a minor-league rehab stint at Iowa."

It looks like a DL stint
is in the Wardosaurus' future. The Cubs premier bat off the bench
apparently injured his low back when he took a tumble at first base
during spring training and it just kept hurting. This makes more sense regarding his slow start as he was
0-14 as a pinch hitter until his recent run of three game changing
pinch hits.

His back pain persisted so an MRI yesterday was obtained and diagnosed a herniated disc.
He's agreed to get an epidural cortisone injection to treat this. The
treatment means a few days of rest (ie. no baseball activities) and so
expect another Iowa callup, most likely power hitting lefty 1B-OF Micah Hoffpauir.

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during a week that began with a disappointing series against a team in the throes of a long losing streak, but ended with a sweep of the club with the best record in the National League, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):

#5 Big Hit: Tuesday, v. the Reds, 4th inning — After Geovany Soto whiffs with men at second and third, Ronny Cedeño connects for a two-out, two-run single to extend the Cubs lead to 3-0, which turns out to be more than cushion enough for Carlos Zambrano. Cedeño's hit was far and away the Cubs' biggest one during the three games in Cincinnati. WPA .172

Quotation marks make their first appearance in the Hits of the Week headline since this week's list includes two walks.

So here they are, the five hits...er, that is, offensive events...that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Tuesday, v. the Mets, 4th inning-- With the bases loaded and two out and the Cubs already leading 1-0, Reed Johnson drives a single to left field, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco, and the Cubs' margin is three, which, on a day when the Mets can't seem to get an important hit, is more than margin enough. WPA .151

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