One Week In….One Week To Go

The day after Jim Hendry and the Cubs put the Carlos Zambrano arbitration case behind them….it was back to business in Mesa. Day 7 of Camp Lou saw live batting practice and a close call for Alfonso Soriano. Speaking of Soriano, it is likely he will start in centerfield next Thursday when the Cubs open up their Cactus League schedule. Aramis Ramirez showing up on time to camp Tuesday made several headlines, a few uniform number updates, Piniella and the Cubs curses, Zambrano’s contract breakdown, useless sports traditions and the rest of the news from Fitch Park….plus the Cubs’ new cover boys.

Day 7 from Fitch Park

According to a report on Cubs.com several of the Cubs’ farm hands threw the first live batting practice session of the spring….with a little added excitement. Apparently Randy Wells was throwing to Alfonso Soriano and the ball got away, went a “little high and tight” but Soriano backed away and no harm was done. Wells said the ball just got away from him and it was not intentional. Twelve pitchers in all threw batting practice:

Les Walrond, Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Ben Howard, Carlos Marmol, Clay Rapada, John Webb, Carmen Pignatiello, Rocky Cherry, Sean Gallagher, Jason Anderson and Randy Wells

As mentioned, Alfonso Soriano will more than likely start the first game of the spring next week versus the Giants in center field. The report on Cubs.com stated Jacque Jones and Felix Pie, respectively, are behind Soriano on the depth chart in center once the games start next week. Tom Verducci mentioned Felix Pie is one of the players to watch this spring. Mark DeRosa will not get much time in the outfield once the schedule starts and he will concentrate on the infield. DeRosa could be the back-up at 3rd for Aramis Ramirez and at short for Cesar Izturis but his main job will be at 2nd base.

Kerry Wood threw 35 pitches off the mound on Wednesday, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. He is scheduled to throw a batting practice session on Friday.

Sweet Lou Doesn’t Believe in Curses

Lou Piniella was asked about the Cubs’ curse according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. Piniella was asked about Steve Bartman and said he did not even know his name. Piniella’s response to the questions about curses:

“Curses are for people with no confidence….Curses? No, I never heard about the Billy Goat Curse and some of these things.”

Breaking Down Zambrano

Jon Heyman from SI.com released the breakdown on Zambrano’s contract that could be worth as much as $14 million….that is if he and the Cubs do not agree to a multi-year deal first. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $12.4 million dollar, 1-year contract
  • $700,000 for winning the Cy Young
  • Between $500,000 – $100,000 for finishing 2nd – 5th in the Cy Young voting
  • $500,000 for winning the MVP
  • $300,000 for finishing 2nd in the MVP voting
  • $200,000 for finishing 3rd in the MVP voting
  • $75,000 for being voted to the All-Star team
  • $100,000 for winning the Silver Slugger Award
  • $500,000 for being named the World Series MVP
  • $350,000 for being named the LCS MVP

Good Start

Bruce Miles brought up how important a fast start is to Lou Piniella this season. Derrek Lee said the Cubs must set a tone for the entire season. Also, there will not be a team captain this year under Piniella….the Cubs have not had a captain since Sammy Sosa left the team in 2004. The Cubs play 26 games in April….22 against the central and their first 12 games are against the Reds, Brewers and Astros. Another slow start, could mean another long season. Let it rain on April 19th!

Play by Numbers

The following players have been assigned new numbers:

  • Cliff Floyd – 15
  • Jason Marquis – 21
  • Jeff Samardzija – 50
  • Jason Anderson – 72
  • Sean Gallagher – 73
  • Adam Harben – 78
  • Ben Howard – 71
  • Ryan O’Malley – 54
  • Carmen Pignatiello – 63
  • Les Walrond – 60
  • John Webb – 70
  • Randy Wells – 68
  • Jake Fox – 74
  • Koyie Hill – 61
  • Mike Kinkade – 4
  • Casey McGehee – 64
  • Eric Patterson – 65
  • Thomas Perez – 1
  • Tyler Colvin – 66
  • Chris Walker – 67

Charlie Hustle?

Aramis Ramirez and his lack of hustle have made headlines over the past couple of days. Some questioned why he showed up to Fitch Park on time, instead of early like the rest of his teammates, while some have questioned what the Cubs will get from Ramirez this year now that he signed a huge contract. Ramirez said he wants to win a gold glove this season….only time and production will tell.

Useless Traditions?

FoxSports.com listed their Top 10 Useless Sports Traditions….#6 Managers Arguing with Umpires and their poster boy….of course, Lou Piniella.

Speaking of Fox, Kevin Kennedy thinks the concept of chemistry is overrated.

The New Cover Boys

Lou Piniella and Alfonso Soriano will be on the cover of the newest Sports Illustrated….speaking of curses?

(link to Cubs.com with photo of cover)

Spring Training Tickets

Anyone that is interested in free spring training tickets, feel free to email me at neil@chicagocubsonline.com. I have two extra tickets for games on March 1st and 2nd and 4 extra tickets for the Sunday game against the White Sox. They are in the lawn….the best place to watch a game at HoHoKam in my humble opinion. So if you are in the area, or plan on being there….let me know.

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

Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

Share on Fancred