Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

March 2008 Archives

Scary sight at Wrigley

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Whether it was a bona fide Cub Occurrence or just that chronic issue of cramps, Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano was forced to leave the Cubs opener today in the top of the seveth after picking off Bill Hall at second base.

Up periscope

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It looked like a glorious start for Carlos Zambrano and Kosuke Fukudome -- until the rains at Wrigley poured fourth again in the bottom of the third inning -- sending the groundskeepers for the tarp at 2:41 p.m. for Opening Day's second rain delay.

Play ball -- finally

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Looks like we're going to get an Opening Day today after all, albeit about 40 minutes late.

Bullpen looks set

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Barring a trade or an injury, Lou Piniella has his seven-man bullpen staff set, and the quick return of probable closer Kerry Wood from back spasms only firms up a list that includes only one left-hander, Scott Eyre.

Wanna buy an autographed wreck?

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You know those donate-your-car-to-charity deals? Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss is thinking along those lines as he tries to come up with ideas of how to get the most out of what’s left of his 1995 Nissan that players took a sledgehammer to this week.

Buss hopes to come up with a plan that helps pass along the good fortune several Cubs pitchers sent his way when they bashed up his old beater – and then presented him with a shiny new SUV.

Finals Week

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MESA, Ariz. -- The decision over the Cubs’ final spot in the rotation could come down to the final days before the season starts, unless a trade in the next week speeds up that process. Either way, the fifth spot could wind up just as important as the spot manager Lou Piniella plans to lock in by early next week.

Lou's cryptic quote

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Cubs manager Lou Piniella offered a cryptic quote this morning that should only fuel rumors of a pending deal to acquire center fielder Coco Crisp from the Boston Red Sox. Asked if projected Opening Day starter Felix Pie, who has been out of action because of a testicular torsion — or twisted testicle — is in danger of losing his starting job, Piniella said:

‘‘I don’t think so. As long as he’s fine, and there is no reason to assume he won’t be. What we have here in camp, he’ll be our center fielder.’’

Old friends; new places

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Big day in Mesa for Cubs and ex-Cubs tomorrow, with the San Diego Padres coming in for a home exhibition game. Don't expect to see new Padre hopeful Mark Prior on the trip, but Michael Barrett said he plans to be there for the first game the teams play since he was traded last June after a rough month of baseball that included an especially rough afternoon with Big Z.

Doing the Lou Lineup Shuffle

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As promised, Cubs manager Lou Piniella took 1-for-7 right fielder Kosuke Fukudome out of the third spot in the order today, moving him to No. 2 and putting Derrek Lee back in the three hole.

The idea is to put the Japanese free agent in a more comfortable spot as he continues to adjust to unfamiliar American pitching, and he might move him again before settling on a spot for him.

``But believe me,’’ Piniella said, ``we’re not going to play around with it for too long. As soon as we get people healthy and put it together, we can come up with a determination pretty quick.’’

Lou apologizes; Marquis status quo

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Lou Piniella apologized this morning for ``overreacting’’ to Jason Marquis’ assertion that he’d rather be traded than pitch out of the bullpen. Marquis said he doesn’t regret what he said Saturday -- ``I don’t think I said anything negative.’’

And ultimately nothing changed overnight about Marquis’ status or the likelihood he’ll be traded regardless by the end of camp if the Cubs can get a team to bite off at least most of what's left of the $16.25 million he’s owed on the final two years of his contract.

Soriano sidelined by finger fracture

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Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger when he took a fly ball off the bare hand in drills this morning, and the team said he'll be ``limited'' for the next three to five days.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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