The Last Trip to Tucson

Spring Training Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 3 Rockies 7
WP – Mark Redman (2-2) LP – Sean Marshall (0-1) Save – None

Spring Training in Arizona is very convenient. The travel time from park to park is minimal even during traffic delays, except for one destination….Tucson. The Cubs made the long two-hour trip for the second time in the last six days on Friday afternoon and while the starting nine featured a few of the everyday starters, most remained in Mesa, including Lou Piniella’s jersey. The Rockies trotted out their very dangerous, regular lineup and Sean Marshall responded with a good outing. Marshall allowed 2 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 4 innings of work. The Cubs staff as a whole had problems once again throwing strikes and issued 5 more free passes.

Ronny Cedeno had another good day at the plate. He was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI. Matt Murton added a pair of hits in 4 trips and Felix Pie doubled and scored the Cubs first run of the game in the 3rd inning on a single by Sean Marshall. Micah Hoffpauir was 1-for-2, and scored one of the Cubs three runs after leading off the 6th inning with a double.

The Cubs announced more cuts on Friday afternoon. Neal Cotts was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and Koyie Hill was reassigned to minor league camp. Here is the rest from Friday and updates from the rumor mill.

The players that figure to have an impact for the Cubs during the upcoming season each had a decent day. Of the Cubs 10 hits, 4 were for extra bases….3 doubles (Pie, Hoffpauir, Cedeno) and a triple by Mike Fontenot. Ryan Theriot added another hit out of the leadoff spot and from all accounts, unless a trade is made, Theriot will start the season hitting in the top spot.

On the mound, Sean Marshall had a good day against the Rockies’ explosive offense and Carmen Pignatiello threw another perfect inning with 2 strikeouts. The other pitchers on Friday afternoon (Rocky Roquet, Les Walrond, Ed Campusano and Jesse Estrada) will start the season down on the farm but Rocky Roquet and Ed Campusano could play a role for the Cubs at some point during the year.

Friday was a Spring Training game….in every way.

The Cubs record in the Cactus League dropped to 10-14 with the loss….only 8 games left.

Box Score from Friday’s Game

The Cubs return to HoHoKam to face the White Sox for the second and final time of the spring. Ted Lilly is scheduled to make the start against Javier Vazquez.

News from Arizona

Lou Piniella announced on Friday he is going to continue to tinker with his lineup over the last week of the exhibition season. Kosuke Fukudome will be moved back to the 2-hole behind Ryan Theriot and he will use Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the order.

Piniella said Lee, Ramirez and Soriano are “interchangeable” and “there’s no chance right now of Soriano going back to the leadoff spotaccording to a report in the Tribune. Piniella cited the cold weather to start the season as the main reason for Alfonso Soriano being dropped in the lineup.

According to a report in the Tribune, Kerry Wood did not pitch on Friday in a minor league game. The report in the Tribune stated Wood would pitch on Sunday and Monday before Piniella announces his closer.

The six pitchers that will be in the pen to start the season, barring a trade, will be….

  • Michael Wuertz
  • Kerry Wood
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Bobby Howry
  • Scott Eyre
  • Kevin Hart

The seventh will be either Ryan Dempster, Jon Lieber or Jason Marquis. A report in the Sun-Times indicated Dempster and Lieber would start the season in the rotation with Marquis pitching out of the pen.

From the Rumor Mill

According to a report in the Sun-Times, Tim Laheyis more likely to get traded than waived.” Lahey was a Rule 5 draft pick and must remain on the Cubs active 25-man roster for the entire season, if healthy, or by rule he would be returned to the Minnesota Twins.

A report in the Detroit Free Press on Friday morning indicated the Tigers are interested in Michael Wuertz. The report stated the Cubs have shown interest in Brandon Inge and Marcus Thames. The Cubs are looking for a right-handed option in centerfield.

Brian Roberts is starting to wear on….well, Brian Roberts according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. Apparently the Cubs players and coaches are not the only ones tired of hearing all of the trade rumors about Brian Roberts.

Roberts is tired of daily answering questions about the possible deal. The following quotes from the Baltimore Sun speaks volumes….

“At some point in your career, your name is going to be thrown out there in trades and it’s going to create some uncertainty,” Roberts said before the Orioles’ 7-4 loss today to the St. Louis Cardinals. “But, no, I didn’t expect this to go all the way through spring training. It’s not something that I’d want to go through every year, that’s for sure.”

“When you’re talking about your life circumstances, yeah, it’s tough not to think about it,” said Roberts, who went 0-for-4 today and hit into two double plays, his spring average dropping to .293. “I’m trying to block it out the best I can. But that’s tough when everybody wants to talk about it. It’s frustrating at times. And times, you say, ‘It’s out of my control.’ Most of the time, that’s how I look at it. I’m here for a reason right now and I’ll make the best of every day, but there comes a time where you’d like to know what’s going on.”

“I think at some point that needs to happen,” Roberts said. “I’m not saying it has to be today or tomorrow, but if it gets to be Opening Day, I don’t really want to deal with it for two more months. I can’t imagine that [a trade] would happen on April 20. That doesn’t really make much sense. I’d think if it doesn’t happen by the end of spring training, it’s probably not going to.

“I wouldn’t say it would be a letdown if [a trade] doesn’t happen. I’m going to play baseball either way. I love my teammates, the city of Baltimore. It’s not like it would be the end of the world. But like I’ve said before, everybody wants to win and you always want to be in a situation where you feel like you have the best chance of doing that.”

It is a good thing Brian Roberts is a favorite of Peter Angelos, it would be interesting to see how the Orioles’ front office treats players they do not like.

Jeff Zrebiec stated the Cubs offered Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal and a fourth player believed to be Jose Ceda earlier in the spring and the Orioles are holding out for more.

Andy MacPhail still has a hand in the Cubs future….more than a year and a half after his employment ended.

Quote of the Day

"Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice." - Bob Proctor
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