The Cubs announced on Saturday that Carlos Zambrano would start the second game of the Cactus League schedule on March 2nd at HoHoKam against the Angels. Kerry Wood threw batting practice on Saturday and according to multiple reports, looked good doing so and a report on Cubs.com reiterated Wood would likely take the hill next weekend when the games begin. The Chicago Tribune reported Lou Piniella will use numbers and percentages when it comes to match-ups this season and Mark Prior plans on being in the starting rotation come Opening Day….here is the rest of Day 10 at Camp Lou.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Lou Piniella will use numbers and percentages more this season when managing than his gut. He said he believes in the numbers.
“Baseball is a strict percentage game. That’s why they keep [statistics]. So you might as well utilize those things. If I had to go with pure gut or pure numbers, I’d take the numbers.”
The proclamation by Piniella is a refreshing one for the Faithful, considering what took place under previous management. The report in the Tribune cited pitching match-ups and using more of a speed team when the opposing pitcher or catcher is susceptible to give up free bases….something the Cubs did little if any of last season. Piniella also said the following:
“If the manager is going to give you a day off, it makes common sense to do it against someone you are not hitting.”
Wood threw 27 pitches on Saturday and faced live hitters for the first time since June of last year. Multiple reports stated Wood received applause from fans in attendance at Fitch Park. A report on Cubs.com stated Wood could pitch as early as next weekend when the Cubs spring training schedule kicks off. The Cubs face the Giants and Angels at home before heading to Phoenix to face the A’s on Saturday….they return to HoHoKam to face the White Sox on Sunday and the game will be carried on WGN TV. Wood is expected to throw 35 pitches in his next session.
No matter who the Cubs sign or what they claim is not happening, as long as Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are on the Cubs roster, the promise still exists and they will garner the headlines. Mark Prior seems to be determined to leave Mesa healthy and in the Cubs rotation when the season starts in Cincinnati on April 2nd….Prior has not been on the Cubs Opening Day roster since 2003.
A report from Scout.com brought up the fact Prior plans on being healthy and he does not care where he is slotted in the rotation because after the first week it will change.
“I absolutely believe I’ll be in the starting rotation this year. I don’t care where I am in the rotation — it doesn’t matter after the first week. But I plan on being in the rotation on Opening Day.”
Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus was on XM Radio this past week. Many will remember Carroll was the Internet reporter that received a lot of heat from the mainstream media around this time last year for breaking the story about Prior being hurt and the fact he would likely not pitch in 2006. Carroll stated (this past week) he felt Mark Prior could be one of the real surprises of the upcoming season.
The Other Hurlers
Ted Lilly and his tendency to give up a lot of fly balls have been well documented. Lilly knows he has the keep the ball in the park according to a report on FoxSports.com.
If Rich Hill can pickup where he left off last season, the Cubs could have a superstar in the making on their hands. A report in the Chicago Tribune reminded everyone of the low point in Hill’s career. Many forget Hill was the starting pitcher in the Barrett-Pierzynski game and how he infuriated Ozzie Guillen afterwards. Hill learned from his demotion to Triple-A the following day. Hill has been “given” one of the starting spots in the rotation, now comes the hard part….he has to keep it.
Multiple reports on Saturday night stated Wade Miller did throw batting practice on Saturday but that his arm strength is behind the rest of the staff. A report on Cubs.com mentioned the fact Miller’s arm strength is behind Kerry Wood’s, but that arm strength is not what will make Miller successful….Miller must depend on his change-up and hitting his spots.
Well, that’s the latest and I’m sticking to it!!