Marquis Gets the Nod and Other Notes from Mesa

The weather caused the Cubs to cut short their workouts again on Friday but the weather in the desert looks more favorable over the next ten days. The Cubs open their Cactus League schedule on Thursday against the Giants at HoHoKam and according to multiple reports Jason Marquis will get the start in the opener. Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild have not announced the rest of the rotation for the spring schedule but one report did mention they expect to have Kerry Wood throw in a game, out of the pen, after the first couple of games.

The Cubs will head down the street after Tuesday to HoHoKam and they announced the first round of roster cuts would likely be made after split squad games on March 9th. Here is the rest of Day 9 at Camp Lou….designated hitters, cross-the-desert rivals and a few bits of useless information….

The Marquis Pitching Match-ups

Kerry Wood started the spring schedule in 2005 with Carlos Zambrano getting the ball in 2006 before heading off to the WBC, this year it will be Jason Marquis. According to a report on there was not a reason given for Marquis starting the opener except for “it just fits, schedule wise.” Marquis missed practice on Friday due to an illness. The report on did mention the starters would pitch at least 2 innings the first time through with 5 days of rest in between and 6 to 7 pitchers could see pitch early on in the schedule. Sean Marshall will not pitch when his spot comes up the first time through the rotation but will work on strengthening his shoulder.

Rothschild did say all of the pitchers are “pretty much on schedule.” According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Neal Cotts “will get a two inning start.” The report mentions the Cubs wanting to “stretch out his arm in case he becomes the long man in the bullpen.”

Second Generation

Eric Patterson’s connection to the Cubs is well known and Paul Sullivan released a nice report about him on Friday night. Eric will continue to receive comparisons to brother Corey, especially if he starts patrolling center in a Cubs’ farm hand uniform. Patterson was at the Cubs Convention in January with Donald Veal and the younger Patterson seemed willing to do whatever it takes for him to get to Wrigley. Patterson is a non-roster invitee to big league camp this spring and will start the season at Triple-A Iowa. Many think he will be a productive major leaguer one day, which raised questions as to why the Cubs signed Mark DeRosa to a long-term deal. Patterson appears to be willing to learn multiple positions in order to increase his chances to earn the promotion to the majors.

Daryle Ward is the second generation of the Ward family to be managed by Lou Piniella. A report on brought up the fact Daryle’s father, Gary, played for Piniella in New York for the Yankees in 1987 and 1988. The younger Ward will primarily be used as a pinch hitter this season but will receive time at 1st base and in the outfield. Plus when the Cubs are playing in AL parks this season, Ward will be in the mix as the team’s designated hitter.

No DH for You

Speaking of the designated hitter, according to a report on Lou Piniella said on Friday he will “stick with a NL lineup” instead of using a DH this spring. Piniella cited trying to tell Carlos Zambrano he would not be able to hit as the reason.

North Side vs. Wrong Side

The first round of the cross-town classic will be next Sunday at HoHoKam; the two teams will also face off in Tucson on March 16th. Piniella was unaware of the rivalry according to multiple reports on Friday night and said he would now have to circle his calendar.

Useless Information

On the last Saturday (until hopefully late October) the Cubs will not be playing a ballgame. Here are a few tidbits and useless facts to fill your head with before the games begin.

  • Dennis Lamp surrendered Lou Brock’s 3,000th career hit on August 13, 1979.
  • Gabby Hartnett holds the Cubs’ record for most games played at catcher….1,759.
  • Dave Clark was the first designated hitter used by the Cubs on June 16, 1997, the first season of interleague play.
  • The Cubs were the first NL team to draw a million fans. In 1927 the Cubs attracted 1,159,168 fans.
  • Rogers Hornsby hit the first extra-inning, pinch-hit grand slam in MLB history on September 13, 1931. The Cubs beat the Braves in 11 innings, 11-7.
  • 1947 was the first year Wrigley Field hosted an All-Star game.

Well, that’s the latest and thanks to John F. Turner and Company….I’m sticking to it!!!

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein