Spring Training Game Eighteen: Cubs (6-11) vs. White Sox (8-10)
Game Time – 3:05pm C.T. TV: WGN (White Sox) – Radio: 720 WGN, Gameday Audio on MLB.com, XM Radio Channel 177
Location – Tucson Electric Park, Tucson
Rich Hill (0-1, 7.04) vs. Nick Masset (0-1, 3.00)
The Crosstown Classic from the Desert…. The Cubs and White Sox face-off for the first time today in 2008, Spring Training or not, it is the Cubs vs. the Sox. Lou Piniella’s crew will be without Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee and likely Kosuke Fukudome if he sticks to his play two, take one of schedule. Ramirez and Lee are expected to get extra at bats in minor league camp today. The Cubs play the Angels again on Sunday at HoHoKam, weather permitting (forecast is calling for rain and 58 degrees), before their only day off in the desert on Monday.
According to Lou Piniella, Rich Hill needs to have a solid start today against the Southsiders and he will have a 2-hour bus ride to think about it. In other news, Andres Blanco was reassigned to minor league camp on Friday according to a report in the Tribune. The Cubs spring roster currently stands at 41. Here’s more on the game and a little from the rumor mill….with info on the trade. Lou Piniella said Rich Hill has not pitched this spring the way he did a year ago and would like for him to pitch better over the next two weeks. The Sun-Times asked Piniella if Hill would remain in his rotation. Piniella said he would be left in the 4th spot and they are going to let him pitch. But the following quote says it all:
“But of all of our starters, I would think he is the one that needs to step it up here the most.”
Today will be Hill’s fourth appearance and second start. In 7 2/3 innings he has allowed 6 runs on 11 hits with 5 walks and 7 strikeouts….a 2.09 WHIP.
Also, Bruce Levine reported on Saturday morning that Felix Pie would not return to the lineup until Tuesday or Wednesday. Pie is apparently very tender.
From the Rumor Mill
Bruce Levine talked about the report on Friday in the Sun-Times about the new deal on the table for Brian Roberts that included Jose Ceda, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal and Ronny Cedeno. Levine said the report was unfounded and that deal is not on the table. Levine added Jim Hendry was not happy about the report and that general managers do not like to see names of their players in the papers. They end up having to answer a bunch of questions from the players and agents.
The Cubs are sick of all the Roberts talk according to Levine….from Lou Piniella to Mark DeRosa and everyone in between. Levine indicated the Cubs are talking to teams about deals to make the club better….the Rangers, the Nationals, the Orioles and the Red Sox. Levine quickly said during one of the segments that the Nationals might be interested in Jason Marquis but did not go into any specifics.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….