Weekend Update … Cubs Reporting Early to Spring Training

Over 40 players have already reported to camp at Fitch Park. Pitchers and catchers officially report on Wednesday with the first workout on Thursday … position players report on February 22 with the first full squad workout on Tuesday, February 23.

Tim Sheridan updated his blog with a few tidbits from Fitch Park: Carlos Zambrano “killed” his first bat of the year … Big Z broke a bat over his knee on Friday. And Tyler Colvin has put on 25 pounds this winter working out with Tim Buss (Cubs’ Strength and Conditioning Coordinator).

Randy Bush and Ryan Theriot followed Jim Hendry’s end of week radio tour and spent a little time on the airwaves. Here’s the final weekend update without baseball until, well …

Randy Bush on Talkin’ Baseball

Randy Bush, Cubs’ Assistant General Manager, joined Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood during the second hour of Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000). Levine began the interview by asking about the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.

Randy Bush, a lifelong Saints fan, talked about the friendly wager he had on the game with Jim Hendry … Hendry is a huge fan of the Indianapolis Colts.

Bruce Levine asked Bush about the keys for the Cubs in 2010. Bush said it starts with pitching. The Cubs feel they have enough pitching depth but as Jim Hendry pointed out on Thursday and Friday, they would like to add a veteran arm to the backend of the bullpen.

Randy Bush explained there is a lot of youth in the Cubs pen right now … that received valuable experience last year due to injuries.

The other key according to Randy Bush is for the offense to improve over last year. He feels Rudy Jaramillo will have an impact … but pointed out that the Cubs are not expecting him to make players better than they were before, just get them back to their previous level of production.

Bush explained later in the interview that the Cubs had five or six guys under perform last year. They are looking for Rudy Jaramillo to get those players back to where they were before last season.

Randy Bush said the players are excited to start Spring Training and mentioned the fact that over 40 players are already in camp. The number of players in Mesa is encouraging to the Cubs. In some cases, players have shown up to camp 10 days before the reporting date.

According to Bush, “Guys that are there are chopping at the bit trying to win jobs.”

Lou Piniella likes it when players come into camp prepared to compete. Even if they have a remote chance of making the team out of camp, Spring Training is an opportunity for players to open eyes and make impressions.

Randy Bush said it is not realistic that Starlin Castro could make the big league team out of Spring Training. Bush said Castro needs “more seasoning.” Lou and his staff are looking forward to seeing him play. Castro will let them know when he is ready to come up and help the Cubs according to Bush.

Ryan Theriot on Sports Central

Ryan Theriot joined Dave Kaplan during Sports Central on Friday night. Theriot sounded up beat and ready for camp. Kaplan said they would not discuss his contract situation, but of course it came up.

Theriot said he’s worked out really hard this winter. He took a different approach to his preparation and feels stronger than he’s ever been.

Theriot told Kaplan, “I’m coming in with something to prove.” It was unclear if Theriot was joking or not.

Theriot is sure everything will workout with his contract. Theriot would like to remain in Chicago for the rest of his career.

Kaplan asked Theriot when he was leaving for Arizona. Theriot is not sure when he is going out but said his family is flying out next week.

Theriot’s arbitration hearing is rumored to be the weekend of February 20 in St. Petersburg. Dates of arbitration hearings are not announced, but usually leak out to the media.

Update from Boys of Spring

Tim Sheridan updated his blog, Boys of Spring, on Friday. Along with a new batch of photos, Sheridan provided a couple of interesting notes.

Click here for Tim Sheridan’s complete blog post on Boys of Spring

  • The truck carrying the Cubs gear arrived on Friday morning.
  • Jeff Samardzija is in camp … and until Lou arrives, so is his hair.
  • As mentioned, Tyler Colvin added 25 pounds over the winter working out with Tim Buss
  • Carlos Zambrano hit fungos to the other pitchers early in the day … before snapping a bat over his knee during batting practice.
  • Bryan LaHair launched several balls onto Center Street on Friday. Sheridan described his shots as “bombs” and for those that have been to Fitch Park … he is not exaggerating.

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

CCO Radio reports to Spring Training on February 23 with the first show of the new season.

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Make sure to check the CCO’s twitter feed during the day. With the pitchers and catchers reporting soon, news and notes will start popping up that are worthy of a mention but not front page news. The CCO will tweet what we hear, of course from reliable sources.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver