The Cubs Spring Training Report – Rockies Top Cubs…Again!!

Game Notes from Monday, News from Mesa, the Cubs in the WBC, the Jon Leicester Trade is Complete, plus Cubs Trade Rumors are starting to fly again

Game Twelve: Cubs 6 Rockies (ss) 10

There was more than just the game on Monday….The Cubs pounded out 14 hits in Monday’s loss at HoHoKam against the Colorado Rockies. Glendon Rusch had another rough outing. Rusch allowed 3 runs, all earned, on 6 hits in 4 innings, lowering his Spring Training ERA to 7.00. Rusch hurt himself in the 4th inning by not covering first base and gave the Rockies an additional out. Both Michael Wuertz and Brian Boehringer had rough outings on Monday as well. Wuertz allowed 3 runs, all earned, on 2 hits in a single inning of work, his spring ERA is 17.18. Boehringer continued to struggle as well allowing 3 runs on 2 hits in 2/3 of an inning. The Cubs pitching staff has really struggled to this point in the spring with Sean Marshall, Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre being a few of the bright spots.

Juan Pierre and Felix Pie both had triples and Matt Murton continued his hot spring with his third double in the Cactus League games. More from the game….

Jerry Hairston added 2 more hits and Ryan Theriot continued his surprising spring with a couple of his own. The Cubs got RBI’s from Hairston, Theriot, two from Marquis Grissom, Casey McGehee and Buck Coats who also played at second base on Monday. Matt Murton is continuing to prove he belongs at the Major League level. With his double on Monday, Murton is now 9 for 19 with a .474 average. Cedeno on the other hand continued his struggles going 0 for 1. Cedeno is only 3 for 19 so far this spring.

The offense will come, especially when Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett return, but the performances from Glendon Rusch and Michael Wuertz are leaning on concerning. The Cubs have a tough first month of the season and they are depending on Glendon Rusch and Jerome Williams to pitch well. Although the Cubs will not need a 5th starter until the middle of the month, another slow start could end their season before it starts.

Here is the box score from and photos from Yahoo Sports

Tuesday – The Seattle Mariners at HoHoKam

Jerome Williams vs. Jesse Foppert

Jerome Williams needs to put an end to the streak of the Cubs starters giving up a lot of runs. Other than Greg Maddux, the last week has not been a good one for the starting rotation. Here are the ERA’s to this point of the starters: Williams 12.60, Rusch 7.00, Hill 9.00, Guzman 13.50, Maddux 1.80

Pitching and defense win ball games and to this point both have been shaky at best.

News from Mesa

According to a report in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune by Phil Rogers, the Cubs may send Jerry Hairston, Jr. or Todd Walker to Florida.

“Boston’s efforts to trade Tony Graffanino aren’t helping the Cubs build a market for Todd Walker or Jerry Hairston Jr. The Cubs’ best chance to get talent in return might be to pick up the salary and send Walker or Hairston to Florida. The Marlins are looking for help in center and at second. The frontrunner at second is Rule 5 draft-pick Dan Uggla.”

And here is another interesting tidbit in the same article from Phil Rogers.

“A GM with another team said he loves Ricky Nolasco and couldn’t believe the Cubs would send Nolasco, Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto all to Florida in the Juan Pierre deal. “I heard the Marlins were getting two of the three, and I thought it was a great trade for them,” he said. All three have gotten spring starts, and Nolasco and Mitre were unscored upon through Friday.”

Mark Prior did throw off the mound on Sunday around 35 pitches according to Pat Hughes had an interesting take on Prior during Sunday’s game. Hughes said he did not care what Prior was doing in Arizona as long as he is able to make is start in Cincinnati on April 5th. Hughes reminded everyone that Prior had started the season on the DL or missed his first start of the regular season for the past two years and he was glad to see the Cubs changing their philosophy on getting Prior ready for the season. Ron Santo agreed with Hughes and brought up the conversation he had with Dusty Baker before the game against the Brewers. Baker told Santo that Prior’s velocity looked good and they are just taking every possible precaution to allow Prior to have a successful and healthy 2006 season. According to on Monday, Mark Prior might throw another simulated game before making his first start of Spring Training. Prior will throw a side session on Tuesday.

Our favorite off-season grader, Dayn Perry, from has struck again. Perry thinks that the Cardinals will repeat as the National League Central Division Champions in 2006. In Perry’s report, the Central Division will stack up like this: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Astros, Reds and Pirates. Perry does not think the moves the Cubs did in the off-season were good enough to over take the Cardinals and hold off the up start Brewers. Speaking of Dayn Perry, he did complete his list of the Top 100 Prospects: here is the link for 1-10. Again he did not mention any of the Cubs prospects, but it is still an interesting read.

Mark Patrick said on Monday morning he expects the Cardinals to make a trade for Tony Graffanino. Patrick thinks the Cardinals are not happy with Junior Spivey.

The Cubs completed the trade with the Texas Rangers for Jon Leicester. The Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Clint Brannon according to a report from the Associated Press. Brannon is 23 years old and was 9-7 with a 4.45 ERA in 29 games for Class A Bakersfield. He has been a starter and a reliever. Here are Clint Brannon’s stats from the Baseball Cube.

Roberto Novoa worked out a little on Monday, but was sent home. Novoa is still recovering from pneumonia.

The Cubs in the WBC

Derrek Lee is continuing to prove that last year was not a fluke. D-Lee hit another home run for Team USA on Sunday. Lee is hitting .357 (5 for 14) with 3 home runs and 8 RBI’s in 4 games. Lee was given Monday night off from Manager Buck Martinez. Michael Barrett is has yet to record a hit on 5 at bats to this point. Barrett made a great block in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game. Team USA plays Team Korea on Monday night at 9:00pm C.S.T. (update: score is USA 0 Korea 2 in the bottom of the 2nd)

Carlos Zambrano made his first start in the WBC for Team Venezuela on Monday. Zambrano threw 72 pitches and struck out 5. Zambrano looked a lot better than his first outing for Team Venezuela last week. He threw 4 scoreless innings and only allowed 2 hits. Henry Blanco is yet to record a hit in 3 at bats to this point.

WBC Schedule

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

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne