We Have Baseball (Almost)!

I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:

Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:

ss Theriot

3b Cedeno

rf Fukudome

1b Lee

lf Murton

c Soto

2b Cintron

cf Pie

p Dempster

DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.

Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.

From Arizona Phil:

The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.

There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.

The position players were broken up into two groups, with the "A" Squad taking its infield practice, BP, and base-running drills on DWP (main field), with the "B" Squad doing the same evolutions on the back field.

This was not "live" BP, but rather "traditional" BP (coaches throwing BP fastballs from in front of the pitchers mound, the kind of pre-game BP teams take during the regular season).

More...

The best pure power performances were by Matt Murton (who hit 'em off the scoreboard, over the scoreboard, and into the lower 40) and Derrek Lee (who hit about a half dozen moon shots).

Kosuke Fukudome also had a nice BP session, hitting ropes all over the field followed at the end by about four or five home runs yanked over the RF fence. Fukudome has had no trouble looking good in "traditional" BP, but he struggled in the "live" BP sessions (with pitchers throwing full speed fastballs, breaking balls, and change-ups) last week at Fitch Park.

Carlos Zambrano took BP with the "A" Squad position players on Dwight Patterson Field, and hit a couple over the fence while batting left-handed, but struggled hitting right-handed.

Again, this was NOT "live" BP, so all that can be gleaned from it is a hitter's power, bat speed, hitting mechanics, etc.

I wasn't able to watch both work-outs at the same time, so I don't know if anybody had an exceptional BP performance on the back field.

SQUAD "A":

GROUP 1 BP

Kosuke Fukudome (raked 'em all over the yard)

Sam Fuld

Koyie Hill

Derrek Lee

Matt Murton (showed tremendous power and bat speed--can N.L. get the DH for 2008?)

 

GROUP 2 BP

Felix Pie

Aramis Ramirez (poor BP outing)

Alfonso Soriano (hit the ball very well)

Geovany Soto (also hit the ball hard, but no HR)

 

GROUP 3 BP

Henry Blanco

Eric Patterson

Ryan Theriot

Carlos Zambrano

 

Daryle Ward participated in fielding practice and baserunning drills, but did not hit, while Zambrano hit but did not participate in fielding practice or baserunning drills

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  • so...

    anyone else ready for the all-star break? =p

    it's been a tough past couple weeks...except that reds series. i miss playing the reds. that was cool.

    crunch 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • To take my mind of this latest disaster...wow, I thought baseball money was crazy, but NBA money is now super-wacko crazy. Joakim Noah is 31 with bad knees and absolutely no offensive game. He can't make a layup. The Knicks just agreed to pay him $72M over 4 years. Holy crap.

    billybucks 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • "if"?

    billybucks 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • Thank you, Jason, for allowing me to get to bed at a decent hour. Very thoughtful.

    It will be very interesting to see what Theo does at the deadline. Of course, if Jake doesn't get straightened out, it really doesn't matter. A lot of Jake's comments this year, and his posing for nudie pics in the ESPN magazine, rang some alarm bells -- after one great year (and it was amazingly great), his head has swelled tremendously. Jake, look up the word "hubris", then look in the mirror.

    billybucks 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • ...and we're back from the 3rd rain delay.

    crunch 3 hours 4 min ago view
  • at least the cubs have a decent backup of...ummmm....well the minor league system has...uhhh...hmmm.

    maybe adam warren can manage to throw less than 100 pitches in 5 innings? no?

    well damn.

    crunch 3 hours 12 min ago view
  • Not to worry -- I'm sure Hammel will finish strong in the 2nd half of the season (~sad chuckle, reaches for Scotch bottle~).

    billybucks 3 hours 17 min ago view
  • Hammel has had a rather challenging last month. I am hoping post-break that Hendrix gets pushed ahead of him. They'll be lucky to win a game in NY

    The E-Man 3 hours 37 min ago view
  • hey, alright...cubs losing by 9 and a 3rd rain delay. awesome.

    crunch 3 hours 47 min ago view
  • If baseball does not work out for Patton, I think he's got a future in Civil War re-enactments. He's got a solid Johnny-Reb look to him.

    Eric S 3 hours 51 min ago view
  • David Ross - the mound awaits you.

    Eric S 3 hours 58 min ago view
  • RIP jason hammel's awesome ERA.

    10 ER in 4ip...almost a full point tacked on tonight, alone. 5HR given up tonight. oogly.

    crunch 4 hours 1 min ago view
  • Nimmo certainly does not want to see the Cubs leave town. His first MLB rbi last night and now his first HR.

    At least Hammel is eating some innings ... this is the kind of game Peralta should be used if at all.

    Eric S 4 hours 10 min ago view
  • OK, the hell with it.

    It's July 1 -- Hammel starting to suck right on schedule.

    Other than sweeping the Reds -- a bad team actively trying to lose -- this will make 8 losses in 9 games to good teams (Cards, Marlins, Mets). Not good at all.

    billybucks 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • Belicheat a consultant for the Red Sox?

    Eric S 4 hours 35 min ago view
  • And, so, Jason Hammel decides to test my new resolution right away. Sheesh.

    No Wright, no Duda, no Granderson -- no problem for NY. Ugh.

    billybucks 4 hours 41 min ago view