A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines for Monday

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Cubs executives and their prized pig


I know everyone has been dying for an update on how the Cubs' farmhands are doing in the AFL. Luckily for us, someone from the Trib is down there, watching their every move. Even luckier for us, he's not telling us the gross stuff. Your first question: how did Josh Vitters do in his first game last Wednesday?

Making his Arizona Fall League debut Wednesday night for the Mesa Solar Sox, the 20-year-old third baseman ended a seven-pitch at-bat by scalding a line shot directly at Phoenix Desert Dogs shortstop Shawn O'Malley for the first out of the second inning.

Vitters saw only four pitches in his next three at-bats -- yet wound up with three hits. He one-hopped the left-field wall on an 0-1 delivery for a leadoff double in the fourth, punched a first-pitch single through the left side leading off the sixth and moved a runner to third with another first-pitch single with one out in the eighth.
I think we have our starting second baseman for next season!

On the down side, Vitters was caught stealing in the eighth and committed a throwing error that led to a run in the fifth as the Desert Dogs beat Mesa 4-2.
Noooooooooo!
Is there news of any other Cubs' prospects? Hopefully some that are perfect in every way?

After a 3-for-5 debut the day before, teammate Starlin Castro cooled off. The shortstop drilled a double down the right-field line in the first inning, but that was his only hit in a 1-for-5 night. Catcher Wellington Castillo went 1-for-4 with a hard second-inning single off the wall in left.

Three Cubs farmhands took the mound, with mixed success. Left-hander James Russell was saddled with the loss, working the fifth and sixth and giving up two earned runs on four hits, including a home run to the Orioles' Brandon Waring. He also threw a wild pitch.

Lefty John Gaub handled the seventh. He struck out two but yielded a run on three singles and a wild pitch. Right-hander Blake Parker pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out two but giving up two hits.

In case the sad news announced by Julie a couple days ago hadn't yet reached you, the Cubs are now Taguchiless:

According to MLB.com's transactions log, the Cubs have released outfielder So Taguchi.

The 39-year-old spent most of the 2009 season with Triple-A Iowa. He appeared in six games for the Cubs in September: 3 hits in 11 at-bats, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts for a .273 average.


And finally, a story about a player we can all get behind and enjoy. Or at least those of us who enjoy men can enjoy:

It was one pitch, one out of 27 that Neal Cotts threw on June 24 in a relief outing for Triple-A Iowa. He felt a sharp pain that he hadn't felt before. Those were the last pitches he threw in 2009.

The left-handed reliever began the season in the Cubs' bullpen but was demoted to the Minor League team in late May. He had nine consecutive scoreless outings before that June game against New Orleans. An exam revealed damage in his left elbow, and in early July Cotts underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.

So, Neal, what're you doing to get back into shape? And will you take pictures?

Before, he focused solely on his arm rehab. Now, Cotts has added cardio work, weight lifting, everything. It's a lot more intense.

"I've never been through [surgery] so it's kind of experimental in terms of how I feel," Cotts said, "but there's no soreness or anything."

He's done his research, and checked with other pitchers who've had Tommy John. Cotts expects to be pitching in 2010.

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36 Comments

gravedigger said:

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I can give Cotts a workout.

gravedigger said:

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Also, glad I didn't watch the Bears last night. Thank DeRosa for the Colts.

AndCounting said:

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Ha, yes, a thin, burnt sienna skin.

thisyearcub said:

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That is great. If Kaplan really wants to be taken seriously as a journalist, he should start by taking all those pictures of him and athletes/celebs down. No one really cares.

gravedigger said:

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Where the F is everybody?

flyball said:

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still sleeping or stuck in traffic probably

AndCounting said:

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Crap, I want the gross stuff! I can't wait for next spring when these guys get to look great in spring training and then not make the team and then get called up to replace guys who get injured and then look awesome and then ultimately remind us why they weren't ready to begin with.

thisyearcub said:

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Who do you mean by "these guys?" Do you follow the Cubs' minor leagues? Just wondering. They've got some good prospects coming into their own.

If all goes well, Starlin Castro will be the starting SS in 2011, if not sooner.

berselius said:

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I dunno Matt, Ryan Theriot is a Pujols-esque block to his ascension to the majors (dying laughing)

flyball said:

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I just hope the front office doesn't trade all the good prospects first

AndCounting said:

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Sorry, just general pre-coffee sarcasm. I like the minor league updates, but I have grown hopelessly skeptical about all prospects in general, not just Cubs.

But it does seem like the Cubs are indecisive with their prospects. They either wait to long, try them out to soon, or put the guys through too much back and forth. But figuring out prospects and farm systems is definitely beyond me.

flyball said:

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you can be sarcastic before morning coffee? I'm impressed, usually I refuse to even talk before my first coffee

AndCounting said:

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Thanks, but I need coffee to be able to spell too right.

flyball said:

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is it wrong that I kinda kept forgetting that Taguchi was still on the team?

baturkey said:

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No, I don't think he ever quite believed it himself.

flyball said:

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the Phillies game was fun to watch, I had it on in the background while doing some researching, a much better choice than the other sports option

Max Power said:

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Another former MLB pitcher with tax issues -- this one also a lousy broadcaster:

Ron Darling, a former World Series-winning pitcher with the New York Mets, is facing four tax liens and warrants totaling $544,197.

Darling, 49, owes $71,076 to the IRS, according to a tax lien filed July 29, 2009, in New York, and $375,597 in a lien filed in May 2008, according to the Detroit News. He also owes $12,664 to New York State, according to a tax warrant filed May 23 of this year, and $84,860 to California in a lien filed in June 2008.

The former pitcher played for the New York Mets when they won the 1986 World Series. He spent 13 years in the majors and was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1991. The Hawaii-born Darling retired from the game in 1995 and is now a sportscaster on TBS and the Mets-owned channel SNY.

thisyearcub said:

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I think it's hilarious how these athletes and celebrities think it's OK to not pay taxes and think it'll just all go away or something.

gravedigger said:

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Yeah, which pisses me off because I have a lot of friends who are undocumented immigrants who pay all of their taxes and aren't entitled to many different social benefits -- yet it is they who receive the most scorn and blame in this country. Figures. God I hate America.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I blame TBS. If they weren't paying Ron Darling, no one else would be, either.

gravedigger said:

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Post of the day

millertime said:

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Go Blackhawks!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Jeez, no kidding.

Doc said:

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The Bears suck.

millertime said:

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Yep. Sure do.

thisyearcub said:

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The Cutler/Orton thing is pretty funny. But if I were a Bears fan, not so much.

The Bears aren't a bad team, just not getting the breaks. Like last night, I really think they would have scored had Pace not been called for the false start. It looked like Cutler was going to sneak for that yard, and then they would have had 1st and goal. But 4th and 6 def. changed it all up. They also need a solid go-to wideout, no one has struck fear in the minds of def. coordinators yet.

Max Power said:

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As a Vikings fan, it is great fun for me. The collapse of the Vikings defense yesterday was not fun.

flyball said:

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they suck with gusto

actually kinda like the Cubs

JulieDiCaro said:

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Some Pig!!!!

MN Pat said:

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Some pigs at the MN state fair tested positive for swine flu, as have some of my students. I don't think the pigs could come up with the awesome collection of cliches that my students regularly produce, however.

gravedigger said:

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That is awesome.

What do you teach?

MN Pat said:

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First year writing (formerly freshman composition).

AndCounting said:

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Anybody else interested in "the gross stuff" have at it. I'm not saying they should do that in the Cubs' farm system, but I'm sure we could come up with a few nominations for a trial run.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I feel like I want to write a diary about the Bears, but all that's going to come out is a bunch of expletive-laden sentence fragments.

gravedigger said:

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Which is why I'm not allowed to post any entries.

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