Archive - Mar 14, 2008

Cintron Gets Nailed by Line Drive to Face

A day after he drove in the winning run with a PH single in the bottom of the 9th, Alex Cintron apparently escaped serious injury when he was struck in the face by a line-drive off the bat of Mark DeRosa while standing in the on deck circle in the bottom of the 6th inning of this afternoon's game between the Angels and the Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Upon seeing what had happened, DeRosa jumped into the air and then went to his knees with his face buried briefly in his hands.

Cintron lay motionless on his stomach for a couple of minutes before finally rolling over and sitting up, and being helped to his feet by the Cubs training staff. He walked into the clubhouse under his own power, and DeRosa was able to resume his AB, relieved that his teammate was apparently not seriously injured.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the possible career-ending eye injury suffered by Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion last year, an injury that occurred under almost identical circumstances (struck by line drive while standing in on-deck circle)..  

TCR Friday Notes

....counting down to Vegas (I'm going next week, Cubs arrive at the end of the month).

- Feel free to use this as today's game thread, Cubs stay home in Mesa and battle the Angels; Ryan Dempster vs. Ervin Santana. 

- The big news of the week was another Lou lineup change, this . I immediately , but I'll save my final judgement when it's actual put to use in a game that counts. Lou still has a few weeks to change his mind. I have no problems with moving Soriano to the 2-spot or the 5-spot or the 4-spot or even the 3-spot. I have all kinds of problems with giving Ryan Theriot even more plate appearances, even if it's just a handful more.

On the other hand...

There's just something about the Lou tenure so far that makes me give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not that I think he's infallible or anything. It's just that if he does go down this road with Theriot at the top of the order, I feel just as confident that he'll abandon it if it's not working. This is the complete opposite of how I felt about Dusty, who was stubbornly stupid.

Spring Training Battles: Closer

The Cubs are a little over two weeks into spring training with about three weeks before Opening Day. It's time to check in on the yearly ritual of spring training battles. What's the fun of spring training without a little competition? The Cubs have a few spots up for grabs and today I take a look at the competition for the fabled closer role between , and It's the final piece in and I know you will all miss my Wrestlemania-inspired graphic.

The closer battle is probably the least crucial of the spring training battles this year, for two reasons. First, the closer role is generally overrated. The closer protects more three-run leads with nobody on than he does one-run leads with the go-ahead run coming up. Set-up men are often asked to wiggle out of more difficult jams than closers, who are usually brought in just to start the ninth inning with a clean slate. Second, all three candidates can do the job just fine, so Lou really can't lose on this one. Sure, you'd like to pick the best, but those outs in the seventh and eighth are just as crucial; and the two "losers" will slide into the set-up men roles. Plus, if the winner out of spring training can't hack it, the Cubs have two ready-made options ready to fill-in, possibly three if isn't cutting it as a a starter. As they say in the old country, it's a good problem to have.

Let's take a closer look after the jump....