Destination: Fitch Park

Charley Steiner once said, “There is something liberating about those magical words, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.” The off-season is over … the Cubs’ baseball season begins today.

FitchEntrance-10.jpgWhile the official reporting date for Cubs’ pitchers and catchers is today, many players are already in camp and were on the field on Tuesday. On Saturday over 40 players had already reported, it appears a majority of the Cubs’ Major League roster has made their way to Mesa, Ariz.

Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella are scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday … and the first official on field workout is Thursday. Position players report on February 22 with the first full squad workout on Tuesday, February 23.

Here are updates from Mesa with video of Geovany Soto in the cage and more on the rumor tweeted by the CCO on Tuesday night that Chan Ho Park is still on the Cubs’ radar … and Ryan Theriot’s pending arbitration hearing could have an impact on Park becoming a Cub. Chatting with Bruce Levine

The always-informative Bruce Levine held his weekly chat Tuesday afternoon on ESPN Chicago. Here are a few tidbits:

  • Levine sees only one of Chad Tracy, Kevin Millar and Micah Hoffpauir making the Cubs roster.
  • The Cubs have “some questions” about Felipe Lopez’s character. Levine asked why a player of Lopez’s talent is not signed in mid-February.

Chan Ho Park

Bruce Levine mentioned during his chat on Tuesday that Chan Ho Park is still on the Cubs radar. The Cubs have “continued to investigate Park over the past three weeks.” Levine mentioned that Ryan Theriot’s arbitration case could have an impact on Park signing with the Cubs.

The Cubs need the money to sign another pitcher … and the two sides are $800,000 apart.

Chan Ho Park’s Page on Baseball-Reference.com

Ryan Theriot

The Cubs and Ryan Theriot appear headed for an arbitration hearing … the first under Jim Hendry. The Cubs and Theriot are $800,000 apart. Theriot submitted a $3.4 million figure while the Cubs countered with $2.6 million.

Arbitration hearing dates are not released to the media (at least not too much in advance) but his hearing is rumored to be in St. Petersburg, Fla. at some point over the weekend.

Full report from the Chicago Tribune

Ryan Theriot spent a little time with Dave Kaplan on Sports Central Tuesday night. Theriot said he would be leaving Louisiana on Wednesday or Thursday for Mesa … Theriot did not discuss his arbitration case with Kaplan.

Theriot said he usually leaves for camp earlier than he has this year. He mentioned his off-season program in Louisiana going well.

Kaplan asked Theriot if he’s been taking grounders at second base. Theriot said he has only been taking grounders at short but indicated second base is a little easier than shortstop. He mentioned he has been turning double plays as a second baseman … then joked, just to give Mike Fontenot a break.

Mike Fontenot and Theriot have been working out at LSU. Fontenot is leaving for camp on Wednesday.

Theriot said he’s looking forward to working with Rudy Jaramillo. Theriot has spoken with Mark DeRosa on several occasions about Jaramillo. Theriot plans on getting in early to work with Jaramillo … as well as staying late.

Geovany Soto

Geovany Soto arrived at Fitch Park on Tuesday. Soto met with the media and took a little batting practice.

Soto addressed his off-season weight loss and called the steroid speculation ridiculous.

From the Tribune:

“My whole life, I’ve had weight problems and stuff. I’ve always been immature in terms of diets and stuff. I never stick to them.”

“This year, I had such a bad year that I was really disappointed in myself and I was willing to take that step and (say) ‘OK, I’m really going to work hard and take it to the next level.’… To me, (the rumors are) kind of ridiculous. I wasn’t strong. I was just fat.”

“My dad used to tell me, because I used to open the refrigerator a lot, ‘Just eat right, small portions throughout the day, it’s a lot better.’ We didn’t know that (growing up). I got a personal trainer, a professional in that area, to try and help me. I stick to the program and it worked. I’m really happy I did it, because I feel a lot better.”

WGN Video from Mesa – Geovany Soto, Rudy Jaramillo, Marlon Byrd and Chad Tracy

 

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.

Follow the CCO on Twitter

Make sure to check the CCO’s twitter feed during the day. With Spring Training underway, news and notes will pop up that are worthy of a mention but not front page news. The CCO will tweet what we hear, of course from reliable sources.

If you don’t have an account on the CCO sign-up for one to share your thoughts and interact with the rest of the Faithful.

More Photos of Fitch Park
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