Rain was the biggest story from Day Five of Camp Lou IV. The inclement weather sent the Cubs under a cover at Fitch Park … and some of the team down the street to HoHoKam Park. When the weather is the biggest news a day before position players report, it was a good day for the Chicago Cubs.
Rain is in the forecast again for Monday. Tuesday is supposed to be mostly sunny with the high reaching into the mid 60s for the first full squad practice of the spring.
Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro did not report on Sunday but are expected in camp on Monday … on time.
Here are a few notes from a rather quiet day in Mesa, plus Lou Piniella on Instant Replay on Sunday night …
Lou Piniella joined Dan Roan on Sunday night during Instant Replay (WGN TV). Piniella appeared relaxed and eager to get the season started.
Piniella briefly discussed Ted Lilly and Angel Guzman’s setback but was quick to point out those have been the only two injuries. Not many players have been in the training room this spring.
The Cubs dealt with a lot of injuries last season. Piniella is hoping the team can stay healthy this year … as well as receive bounce-back seasons from four to five players. If they can, Piniella feels the Cubs will get back to where they were two years ago.
Piniella admitted last season was tiring. He explained it was something different everyday. Piniella added, “It was a rough year for me.”
The Cubs’ skipper quickly changed the direction of the conversation. Piniella said last year is behind us and he thinks last season made the team hungrier.
Piniella has talked to a few of the veterans (Lilly, Dempster and Zambrano). They are ready to go. Last year was tough on everyone … it was a hard, long season. Piniella said he thinks the chemistry will be better this season … as well as the clubhouse.
Dan Roan called Marlon Byrd the anti-Milton Bradley. Piniella said he’s always got a smile on his face. Byrd is already fitting in with his teammates and has volunteered to be the interpreter for Rudy Jaramillo to the rest of his teammates … Jaramillo has a terminology he uses that Byrd would be more than happy to help translate.
Carlos Zambrano and Geovany Soto look wonderful according to Lou. Piniella said Zambrano is throwing the ball extremely well. Piniella added, “The best I’ve seen him throw early in the first four years I’ve been here.” The video on WGN showed Greg Maddux watching one of Zambrano’s bullpens.
According to Piniella, Zambrano is getting on top of his ball easier and is finishing his pitches.
As for Geovany Soto, the ball is jumping off his bat. Piniella pointed out that Soto’s weight loss has also helped him with his footwork. Matt Sinatro told Piniella that Soto’s feet are a lot quicker.
Lou Piniella pointed out at the end of the interview, that only four of the regulars are not in Mesa … Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Starlin Castro.
Notes from Mesa
- Position players report on Monday with the first full squad workout on Tuesday.
- Angel Guzman is expected to be 7-10 days behind the other pitchers. Guzman recently told Bruce Levine he would be ready to compete when the exhibition season begins on March 4.
- The Ricketts family will be at Fitch Park for the first full squad workout on Tuesday.
- Lou Piniella is undecided on whether Ryan Theriot or Kosuke Fukudome will be the Cubs’ leadoff man. Both will get opportunities this spring at the top of Lou’s lineup.
- Ted Lilly continued his rehab from shoulder surgery. Lilly rode the bike instead of getting his running in on the field.
- None of the four candidates for the fourth and fifth spot in the rotation have an advantage over the other one. Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny are competing for the spots … but from the reports on Friday and Saturday, Carlos Silva has to get into shape first.
- Bobby Scales, who is in his third straight big league camp with the Cubs, wants to earn a spot on the Cubs roster … and stay in the big leagues the entire season.
- Xavier Nady has been working with Larry Rothschild as he rehabs from his second Tommy John surgery. Nady is altering his throwing mechanics and learning how to throw from a different arm slot.
- Xavier Nady and Bobby Scales were teammates in Class-A ball in 2001.
- Mike Parisi, the Cubs’ Rule 5 Draft pick, is willing to start or pitch in relief. Parisi had Tommy John surgery on August 20, 2008 and was glad when the Cubs selected him in the draft. Parisi is reunited with Mark Riggins, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitching Coordinator.
- Piniella admitted on Sunday it was difficult at times last year with David Patton, last year’s Rule 5 Draft pick.
Angel Guzman is using his brother’s death in January as extra motivation for the upcoming season. Guzman lost his brother to a drive-by shooting on January 11. Guzman’s brother, Daniel, died in his arms.
Updates from the CCO
Here are links to the news you can use from over the weekend:
- Lilly Cleared After MRI
- Notes from Day Three of Camp Lou
- Cubs Win Arbitration Case Against Theriot
- Weekend Update … Spring Has Sprung for the Cubs
- Theriot Ready to Go in Twenty-Ten
Well, there’s the update … 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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