Notes from Day 12 of Camp Lou … Wells to Start Cactus League Opener

More rain cut short practice on Day 12 of Camp Lou IV. Lou Piniella said his team had a short day planned so the rain (and soggy fields) did not keep players from getting their work in as scheduled. The weather is expected to cooperate when the games begin on Thursday … the forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid 70s and sunny for the first weekend of games.

The Cubs announced the pitching rotation for the first game of the exhibition season. Randy Wells will get the ball to start the spring on Thursday. Wells will probably go two innings then turn the game over to Sean Marshall, J.R. Mathes, Mike Parisi and Esmailin Caridad. Don’t read anything into Wells starting the opener … Jason Marquis, Ryan Dempster and Jeff Samardzija have been the three starters for the spring openers under Lou Piniella.

Here’s the rest from a short Sunday, plus Gordon Wittenmyer on XM Radio …

Notes from Mesa

Gordon Wittenmyer on XM Radio

The Cubs’ beat writer for the Sun-Times joined Jeff Joyce (MLB Live Weekend – XM Radio) on Sunday afternoon. Gordon Wittenmyer discussed a variety of Cubs’ topics.

Here are the highlights:

  • Angel Guzman throwing on Sunday was the first good news the Cubs have gotten in regards to the pen this week.
  • Guzman is expected to throw a full bullpen session on Monday.
  • Ted Lilly’s health will have an impact on the pen.
  • Wittenmyer described the Cubs’ pen as “very young” with the only veterans being John Grabow and Carlos Marmol.
  • Angel Guzman is the key to the pen’s success according to Wittenmyer.
  • Esmailin Caridad’s nickname is “Smiley.”
  • Wittenmyer thinks the Cubs will bolster their pen with a trade late in camp.
  • The Cubs have missed Michael Wuertz.
  • According to Wittenmyer, the Cubs traded Wuertz to clear payroll for the right fielder they signed last year.
  • Five guys will compete for the two spots in the rotation: Gorzelanny, Marshall, Silva, Parisi, and Samardzija.
  • Piniella said on Sunday at least one of the spots in the rotation would be filled by a lefty … possibly both.
  • Jeff Samardzija has looked like he might be turning the corner.
  • Mike Parisi is a dark horse to make the rotation according to Wittenmyer.
  • Carlos Silva is going to make the team, one way or another. Cubs have told Wittenmyer he has looked good (throwing the ball) early in camp.
  • Wittenmyer thinks the WBC really hurt Geovany Soto last year.
  • Xavier Nady is not sure when he will be able to return to an everyday lineup. Nady can hit just fine and does not anticipate starting the season on the DL.
  • Nady has told the Cubs he could play center in a pinch. Cubs are planning on using him in left and right.
  • Nady will likely be just “a pinch hitter” to start the season.
  • There is no talk of Starlin Castro breaking camp with the Cubs.
  • Cubs would rather him play everyday in the minors (right move) than to sit on the bench in Chicago.
  • Wittenmyer could see Lou Piniella returning after this season. The Ricketts family wants to see how this year works out before they make any decisions on veteran players and Lou Piniella.
  • Wittenmyer said this season could be a transition year for the Cubs … with veteran contracts expiring, a couple of prospects knocking on the door and Lou Piniella’s future.
  • The Ricketts family is doing several things behind the scenes other than making improvements to Wrigley Field. The Ricketts family is allocating more money to the Cubs’ scouting department, the draft and player development. Wittenmyer brought up Tom Ricketts’ trip to the Cubs’ facility in the Dominican Republic the week after the Cubs Convention.

Well, there’s the update … and I am sticking to it!

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein