Day Seven of Camp ‘Q’ … The First Week of Cubs’ Camp is in the Books

For the second day in a row, the Cubs dodged bad weather before the rain finally forced everyone indoors. Several of the hitters took batting practice against the likes of Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and James Russell.

John Grabow faced hitters for the first time since June 28. Grabow elected to not have off-season surgery on his knee and decided to rehab-it instead. Grabow pitched with a knee brace on Sunday and said he probably could pitch without the brace but is not going to take that chance.

It was an eventful first week in Mesa, fortunately most of the headlines the Cubs made focused on off the field issues. As for the week ahead, Mike Quade should announce his rotation for the beginning of the Cactus League schedule. The Cubs face the A’s in the opener at HoHoKam next Sunday. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Quade is expected to announce his starters on Monday or Tuesday.

As Bruce Miles recently pointed out, it is very different in Mesa without Ron Santo. Santo would have turned 71 next Friday … February 25.

Here is the update from Mesa …

News, Notes and Tweet from Mesa
More on John Grabow Grabow has decided to pitch with a knee brace after deciding to rehab his knee in the off-season instead of electing for surgery on a torn MCL. Grabow will wear a knee brace for the entire season.

Grabow has indicated last season was embarrassing and he’s looking to redeem himself. The Cubs are paying Grabow $4.8 million for this season after re-signing him prior to 2010 to an outlandish contract (two years, $7.5 million). Who is calling the shots again?

According to a tweet from Bruce Miles, Fernando Perez is switch-hitting again. Perez was a switch-hitter before injuries forced him to solely hit right-handed.

Carlos Marmol clipped Reed Johnson on the left elbow during batting practice.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat
, the Cubs will not make a decision on where James Russell will begin the season until late March. Russell is competing for a spot in the rotation. Russell could begin the season in the Cubs’ pen or if he shows promise, the Cubs could elect to start him in Iowa when the year begins.

Welington Castillo caught the newest Cub, Robert Coello, in Winter Ball. Coello was acquired last week from the Red Sox for Tony Thomas and is happy to be with the Cubs.

Starlin Castro feels he has to make the team and Mike Quade wants Castro to work on his defense this spring.

Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano “are making sure Castro doesn’t get overwhelmed by the attention he’s getting” according to the Tribune. Mike Quade refers to the trio of Ramirez, Soriano and Castro as the ‘Three Amigos‘.

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

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt
  • paulcatanese

    If anyone could monitor Castro to not be overwhelmed by the attention he’s getting and give him tips it would be Aramis Ramirez. He’s the champion on not paying attention to anyone to this point in his career. Although he (Ramirez) has said he is 100% and ready to go adding a few pounds. I did not know he was underweight? Lets hope he has revamped his thinking and has a stellar year.

  • Tony

    Something I have been saying all winter.

    From Paul Sullivan – Tribune beat writer

    “There are a lot of “ifs” that have to occur for the Cubs to return to the postseason, but Ramirez believes it can be done.”

    Full article – mainly on ARam. ––20110220,0,1799258.story

    • Tony

      I feel that the Cubs, CAN, make the playoffs in 2011. Their margin of error is very small, and they will need a lot of their, IFs, to happen, to being playing meaningful games in September and October.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony,you are absolutly right,I have been saying the same thing,a lot of Ifs have to come around. I read the article you suggested and it was all about Ramirez and how he feels. I agree he is one big IF and the Cubs desperatly need his playing well..I hope he does,for thats the only way he will be back. I with you always feel they have a chance for the postseason.Word for word I agree with what you say with the IFs and Sep and Oct.

  • paulcatanese

    Reply to Neil. You ask on Grabow,who’s calling the shots now? I know one thing,it’s not Grabow. More likely the person Mr Ricketts has said he has been satisfied with the job that has been done over the winter.Can only be one person and I think everyone knows who that is.

  • fryegye

    The NL Central is still struggling for parity with the rest of MLB. I do think the Cubs could be a sleeper. We will get some of the Ifs – personal opinion is that Pena and Garza will surprise, Colvin and Castro will disappoint. The Reds don’t scare me or the rest of the division. The Cards always battle but there are still plenty of holes in their offense and defense. The Brewers patched the glaring hole, but Greinke now is no Sabathia then. The Central winner might take down the West (maybe) or a Wild Card, but the Phillies are looking stronger every year.

    The Cubs need to focus on the grass (fielding, advancing runners) before looking at the sky (playoffs, WS).

    Goggles off – I’d like to see a winning season and a hope for the future out of 2011.

    • Getupheights

      Ya i dont see anyone as a huge favorite. Are Greinke and Marcum any better than Sheets and Sabathia in 08. Sabathia was a beast and Greinke is coming off a pretty mediocre year.

      The biggest ifs for me are will Pena and Ramirez hit and will the the bullpen put it together. I think thats the biggest issues i have. 1 run games where brutual for us last year when the Pen was giving it up and Ramirez and Lee were combining for like a .220 avg.

  • Calicub

    In all honesty i can say that I’m slightly more excited for this season than last. There are alot of ifs but there is also alot of holes filled.

    The bullpen is looking much better with plenty of semi-experienced arms waiting in the minors.
    The rotation is stronger. Three number 2 pitchers is better than two number 2, two number 5 starters and a Venezualen buffet junky. Even if whomever wins the 4 and 5 spot goes down there is more semi-experienced arms waiting in the minors.
    Pinella is gone and lets all give Quade a hand, despite not yet playing a game this season he seams to be stressing all the right areas.
    Aram no longer being a stick figure has to be good for not only any of his injuries but his power and athleticism.
    Our outfield, is crowded but with plenty of viable options it would be ludacris not to add Perez for the speed factor.
    Sori well who knows? A blazing April and May and then a 200 AB hr drought?

    Yeah we might get a sophomore slump out of Castro and Colvin, especially Colvin, but if Castro is who he is supposed to be he’ll still impress, although I am nervous of the affects his new AMIGO’S will have on him. ARAM is cocky and Soriano is soriano.

    for only two letters it sure is a big freakin word

  • gary3411

    Jose Ceda, who we traded for Gregg, is not being let near a mound in Spring Training until he drops 10 pounds of fat. Haha. Good news I guess it; makes me feel it lowers his chances of becoming a gem with that kind of carelessness when we got nothing.