The second day of camp was full of pitcher’s drills and more of the everyday players showing up early to camp. Cliff Floyd, Chris Walker and Angel Pagan were among the latest to join the pitchers and catchers in Mesa. Most of the news on Friday was centered on Kerry Wood’s latest injury and all of the bad jokes that followed. Mark Prior appears to be focused and ready to compete for a spot in the rotation and Lou Piniella mentioned the team would likely break camp with 12 pitchers to start the season. The news of Sean Marshall being at least a week away from throwing off the mound has many speculating he will be too far behind to fully compete for a spot in the rotation.
The news of Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs agreeing to the length of his new deal surfaced in the rumor mill….here is the rest of day two from Camp Lou. Carlos Zambrano
Several reports indicated on Friday the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano have agreed to the amount of years on Z’s new deal but there has not been an official word from the Cubs on their ace’s new contract. Many speculated Zambrano’s new contract will be for 5 years and some are thinking in the $18-$20 million dollar range. The Sun-Times mentioned the deal could be worth $90 million. While the total amount of Zambrano’s new contract would not be in the range of Barry Zito, the amount per year would.
Zambrano took a hit from ‘talking heads’ throughout the country. Many feel he should have never used the media they way he did, especially referring to himself in the third person.
According to a report on Cubs.com, Sean Marshall is around a week behind the rest of the pitching staff. Marshall had a problem with his rotator cuff at the end of last season but it was not bad enough to require surgery. Marshall chose to rest the shoulder and in the process lost a month of his off-season program. Marshall feels he will be able to catch up with the rest of his teammates once the exhibition schedule starts.
A Dozen Arms
As mentioned, Lou Piniella announced on Friday the Cubs would likely leave Mesa with 12 pitchers on the 25-man roster. The Cubs schedule in April would allow Piniella to have just 4 starters for the first couple of weeks but Piniella thinks keeping the staff on a regular schedule might provide better results.
Apparently Jeff Samardzija and his long hair did not meet the approval of his new boss. Piniella made a comment on WGN on Thursday night about the length of the pitcher’s hair and on Friday the rookie wisely trimmed it.
Prior looks like he has come to play this spring. Prior started throwing off a mound in January and joined Wade Miller, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Will Ohman on Thursday by throwing 30 pitches off the mound. Prior appears to be ready to put the past behind him. For the Cubs’ sake, hopefully he has. A healthy Mark Prior, for an entire season, would go a long way towards the Cubs’ being able to print tickets come early October.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, DeRosa is the Cubs 2nd baseman but Piniella will be moving him from position to position this spring.
According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Carlos Zambrano and A.J. Pierzynski filmed a commercial earlier in the week and the two rivals got along….just wait until May.
While Lee has yet to make an appearance in Mesa, Peter Gammons thinks Lee is one of twenty players that will make a big comeback this season.
Ryan Theriot was at camp two weeks early, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, to work on being able to play in the outfield for Lou and his staff. Theriot has realized if he can play multiple positions it would increase his chances of making the team. Many think Theriot would be better suited to play 2nd base and let Mark DeRosa continue to do what made him a rich man.
The Center of Attention
Alfonso Soriano showing up early to camp speaks volumes. Soriano’s early arrival should hold off the comparisons to a former right fielder….well, at least for now. Soriano will get playing time in center this spring but Piniella is concerned about Soriano learning a new position and in turn affecting his defense.
Last and Definitely Least
Phil Rogers mentioned trading Carlos Zambrano could have an “upside”?
The remaining position players are scheduled to report on Monday and the first full team workout is scheduled for Tuesday….the same day as Carlos Zambrano’s arbitration hearing, if it goes that long.
Live games are just around the corner, are you ready?
Well, that’s the latest and I’m sticking to it!!!