I've had one of the busiest work days in recent memory, which consisted of me working through my lunch and not taking any breaks during the day - oh, and I stayed half an hour later than I was supposed to, too. Consequently, no GROTA updates. But cheer up, good news, I'm here now!
Since I'm mentally exhausted, it'll just be some quick links with brief commentary. Later tonight I'll write the Mike Stanton Player Preview, since Rob apparently forgot.
First, to the shock of every overthinker who owns Cubs swag, Carlos Marmol insists that the WBC blown save won't have an effect on him. I'm actually amazed that this possibility has gained any amount of traction, and I'd rather think that it's a case of the media creating a story rather than reporting on one. Should Yankees fans have worried about Mariano Rivera after he blew the World Series in 2001? I think not.
Carlos Zambrano showed his marbles in a recent game against Team Japan. He faced Kosuke Fukudome twice, and having told him what pitches he'd be throwing was still able to get him out both times. Unfortunately the Cubs lost the game 3-2, so they will not be advancing to the next round of the WBC.
Speaking of Fukudome, the Sun-Times has an article about how, scarred from the failure to perform last year, Kosuke left America for a Japanese monastery this past winter. He apparently spent the cold months meditating over his losses while perfecting the physical discipline necessary to kill his father's murderer and to become ... the Kung Fu baseball master. Or something like that. I didn't actually read the article. The Sun-Times sucks.
Ownership troubles look to prevent the Cubs from acquiring Peavy any time soon. Not only are the Cubs likely to have a new owner in the Ricketts clan within the next month or so, but the Padres are also in the process of selling the team. Only it turns out that the next theoretical owner might be short on factual cash. But chin up, Cub fans. On top of already rooting for the best team in the NL, a lot of things can happen between now and August 1st. Even if the Padres ownership issues aren't resolved, there'll be plenty of teams fallen from competition whose top stars might look good in a Cubs uniform.
In an entirely un-Prior like experience, Prior-like Cubs ace Rich Harden threw in a game for the first time this Spring. There was no towel in sight and his fastball topped out at 92 MPH.
Goat Friend Bruce Miles breaks my heart by writing a fear-mongering article about the Cardinals. Miles also reports that if Guatemala and Belize go communist, then Mexico will be the next domino to fall and we must sacrifice all of our freedoms because if we don't then Bin Laden's terrorist network will get us. How could you, Bruce?
Up later tonight: Mike Stanton's someday-soon pointless Player Preview!
Update: Screw it. We'll do a Player Preview Double Shot tomorrow. I'm going to bed.
Sorry about the lack of posts recently, but it was a crazy week at work. Well, lets get to the links.
A few of the newspapers talk about handling Rich Harden with care. The Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer rehashes all the stuff we heard about Harden sine he came over. By now we know that he has a shoulder problems, and had to be handled with care.
This has to be the 100th story about Harden’s problems. We all know that Harden is at best 50/50 to make 20 or more starts, but I’m sick of hearing about it. I think the Cubs have done the best they can by bringing in a guy like Aaron Heilman to go along with Sean Marshall.
Wittenmeyer also points out in the notebook that the Cubs made their first three cuts. Gone are Rocky Roquet, Ed Campusano and Andrew Cashner. Nothing really surprising here, and the Cubs need to get all the guys competing more time in game action.
Over at the Daily Herald, Bruce Miles does another Q and A on the Cub bullpen. Nothing shocking here, because of course Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol are the keys to the pen. Really? That like saying the key to the Yankee pen is who works with Mariano Rivera. For the most part, unless Marshall doesn’t win a rotation spot, Neal Cotts will be the only lefty in the pen. I’m not too concerned about the lefty/righty matchup unless Cotts totally blows right out of spring.
In game action, the Cubs lost 4-3 yesterday to the Dodgers. Ryan Dempster gave up 2 runs in 3 innings, while Randy Wolf and Jeff Weaver shut the Cubs out for 5 innings. The one concerning trend is Derrek Lee still doesn’t have an extra base hit. I’m too worried yet, since there are still 30 days until opening day. It is just a trend that needed to be pointed out.
The Tribune’s Paul Sullivan tells us that Dempster likes what he sees from Marshall, Heilman, and Jeff Samardzija. Most likely two of these guys will end up starting at some point this year when Harden goes down for a few weeks, unless the Cubs pull the trigger on Jake Peavy, which doesn’t seem likely.
Those are all the links for today.