The Cubs Spring Training Report – Dusty Baker on WGN

Dusty Baker and Dan Roan on WGN, plus News from Monday in Mesa

Dusty Baker was on WGN News with Dan Roan on Sunday night from Scottsdale, Arizona. This was a live interview and Dusty was in street clothes and looked very relaxed. They briefly spoke about the latest news about Frank Thomas and the White Sox. They showed shots of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior throwing off the mound as well as other members of the 2006 Cubs. Like most interviews, the conversation quickly turned to the Cubs and the pitching staff….

Dusty said it has been great to see Kerry Wood and Mark Prior in uniform and pitching. Both Wood and Prior have had great attitudes and mindsets and Dusty is very happy to see them smiling. Both of the star pitchers are happy to be a part of the team. Wood’s progress has surprised Dusty and with the changes the Cubs made in the off-season Dan Roan thinks the Cubs staff from top to bottom is the best in their division. Roan likes the addition of Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry. As usual the ‘if the staff is healthy’ statement was made by Roan and he even went as far as saying the staff could end up being the best in the league. Dusty said Jerome Williams has come in to camp in good shape and he thinks Williams can start where he left off last season. Dusty really likes Jerome Williams and thinks he can help the Cubs win ballgames. Glendon Rusch will figure into the starting rotation this season.

Dan Roan brought up the second base competition and Dusty said all three of them bring different strengths to the table. He figures it is good to have too many ball players, then not enough and the Cubs will have room for all three on the roster.

There has been no secret the Cubs will not have the homerun punch the team has had for the past several seasons and Dusty is looking forward to it. Roan mentioned the long ball era for the Cubs is over and said the team will be looking to play small ball this season. Dusty corrected him by saying, “combination ball”. The Cubs will have power at the corners with Lee and Ramirez and speed at the top with Juan Pierre. Dusty said Ronny Cedeno has looked good so far and they are not sure what they will get out of Matt Murton. Murton showed flashes of power last season and Dusty likes what he has seen this spring. He feels Jacque Jones will be better in the National League and is really looking forward to this year’s team.

The upcoming World Baseball Classic was discussed and Dusty mentioned this is the first time he has ever had to deal with anything like this. His main concern is loosing Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco for an extended period and is really trying to get them as much time with the pitching staff as possible especially the new guys.

Dan Roan asked Dusty how long it took for him to let go of last season and Dusty replied with “around a month”. He said the season ends with the World Series and it begins again after the Super Bowl is over.

Dusty seemed to be in good spirits and the rest of the team sounded that way as well. It was a good interview.

News from Monday in Mesa….

The Cubs announced on Monday that Greg Maddux will also pitch on Thursday at HoHoKam. Maddux will throw on a backfield and called it an “exaggerated batting practice” in order to get him on schedule. Scott Eyre will also pitch on Thursday and according to he is throwing so Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco get a chance to work with him before they leave for the WBC.

Check back for updates from Spring Training and the CCO will be in Mesa starting on Thursday for the first 4 games of Spring Training.

Well that’s the news….and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney