An Early Start

While the Cubs position players are not scheduled to be at Fitch Park until Monday several reports on Sunday indicated all but five of the position players have already reported to camp. Only Aramis Ramirez, Ronny Cedeno, Daryle Ward, Brian Dopirak and Mike Kinkade are absent from the 57 players expected to be in camp.

Sean Marshall threw a little on Sunday, Jim Hendry is scheduled to meet with Carlos Zambrano’s agent on Sunday night and the rest from day four of Camp Lou….

Getting Started

As mentioned, all but five of the 57 players have reported to camp, something Lou Piniella has never seen according to a report on Cubs.com. The report mentioned how surprised Piniella was to see all of his players so early and he even stated everyone has shown up to camp in shape and ready to go. Piniella credits all of the moves the Cubs made this off-season as the reason for the players showing up early and in shape. He was asked about if his presence had anything to do with it and Piniella responded with, “I don’t think so.”

As the Cubs work on their “swagger” this spring, a report on FoxSports.com mentioned the atmosphere in Mesa in very positive and there is a “new feeling around the team this year.” Piniella mentioned there is a “quiet confidence in the air.” Derrek Lee also stated in the report that he was “eager last year” but is “excited this year.”

According to the report on FoxSports.com and a report on ESPN.com, there are only four players that have yet to report to camp.

Carlos Zambrano

The agent for Zambrano and Jim Hendry are “expected to talk” on Sunday night about Zambrano’s contract according to a report on Cubs.com. The report mentioned the Cubs are looking to “reach some kind of agreement before Tuesday.” The much-anticipated arbitration hearing for Z is scheduled for Tuesday in Phoenix….the Cubs offered $11.025 million and Zambrano has asked for $15.5 million.

Ken Rosenthal from FoxSports.com is the latest to say the Cubs need to settle arbitration with Zambrano before Tuesday. In his report, Rosenthal mentioned a 5-year deal in the $80 million dollar range should satisfy Zambrano as well as the Cubs. He goes on to mention a 7-year contract “would be a deal-breaker” because he is not a free agent until the end of the year. Rosenthal thinks a 5-year deal with a 6th year vesting option might be the way for both sides to go. He said both sides would not benefit by an arbitration hearing and mentioned if the deal was for $13 million in 2007 and $18 million per year for the other 4 years then the total package would be $81 million dollars.

Sean Marshall

Sean Marshall participated in a few drills on Sunday. According to a report on Cubs.com, he “played a little catch and threw lightly off the mound.” Marshall said everything went well and his arm felt like it did two years ago.

A Dynamic Duo?

According to a report on Cubs.com, Alfonso Soriano and Felix Pie have been very near each other since they showed up to camp last week. Considering Pie needs to learn how to hit major league pitching and Soriano needs to work on his skills in the outfield, this could be a win-win situation for the Cubs. The report also revealed Pie hurt his shoulder while playing winter ball and that is the reason his season was cut short. According to the report, Pie hurt it while swinging the bat. Piniella worked with Pie on his batting stance on Sunday as well. Soriano had this to say about Pie:

“I came here and made friends with him. He’s a young guy and needs a little help. Whatever I can do to help him, I’ll do. A lot of people did that for me. I want to try to do the same with him.”

A New Look?

According to a report on Cubs.com, Lou Piniella is going to experiment with different lineups this spring. He said Jacque Jones could bat 2nd or 5th depending on the outfield combination. Piniella did say whoever is in center will have a huge effect on the lineup. He went on to say he has some ideas that will be worked out during spring training. Cliff Floyd was mentioned but Matt Murton was not.

Quote of the Day….

From Scout.com:

“A lot of pitchers don’t sleep well at night knowing they will face Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Now you have Alfonso Soriano. Now teams will start to lose even more sleep because of him.” – Michael Barrett

Well, that’s the latest and I’m sticking to it!!!

Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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