A League of Her Own

Cubs Friday Headlines: Birthday Fever Part II!

Young girl blowing out candles on cake
Hope you're not tired of birthday cake!


Today is part two of the Juliax (if you have a better idea for their celebrity couple name, please suggest in the comments) birthday week. So everyone, please wish our favorite blogmistress the happiest of days.

We'll jump from balloons, cake and rainbows to the depths of despair, as it turns out that one Theodore Roosevelt Lilly is slated to have an MRI on his knee. We'll hold off on the weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I'm getting my mouth guard ready for the gnashing part, and please bring your own tissues for the weeping.'

"Lilly, we're holding him back as much as possible," Piniella said. "We've got plenty of time for Teddy to get him ready. We don't him to get a little overanxious.

"It's been like that for a couple days, evidently. We'll see. Hopefully, it's just a minor little thing. But as far as the shoulder is concerned, he's gaining strength, and he feels good. We're just having to hold him back and not have him take a step backward."


Ted doesn't seem to think it's a problem, so maybe we should trust him.


Lilly downplayed the seriousness of the knee injury after he threw about 30 pitches from flat ground.

"I don't know what to think of it right now," he said. "I'm sure we'll probably talk about this tomorrow. If not tomorrow, in the future if it's something that comes up. Maybe I'm just a little soft, fragile, I don't know. You expect to feel perfect all the time."

As for new arrivals, it sounds like at least one has some slimming down to do. I'll give you one guess as to his identity.

"We've got to get him in a little better shape here first, and we will, especially if the weather stays like it is," Piniella said. "Let's hope we get him back to where he was in Minnesota, when he had that good, hard sinker working, nice little breaking ball. I don't know what happened in Seattle. Seattle, really, is a good park to pitch in. They tell me that his ball straightened up a little bit last year.

"I'm not disappointed about anything. We recognize that we're going to get him in a little better conditioning, and he's going to work hard. That's one thing we've been told, that he'll work and we'll go from there."


Carlos Zambrano has made some changes this offseason, and vows he's a changed man.


"You will see," Zambrano said with a smile. "I think I've passed that age or that stage when everything was getting me mad. That's why you will see a different Carlos Zambrano, smiling and laughing with everybody, even with the umpires."

As for the Gatorade cooler, Zambrano said he's "kissed and made up" with that.

The right-hander arrived in camp looking fit and trim. He's lost about 15 pounds and wants to drop another five before Opening Day to reach 255. He took his loss to another level by trimming his hair in the same cropped style it was during his rookie season in 2002.

"I feel like a new guy, I feel like a rookie again," Zambrano said. "That's why I got this haircut. Somebody said, 'You look like when you were a rookie.' When I first came up to pitch against Milwaukee [Aug. 20, 2001], I had the same haircut."


He threw yesterday, and he's eager to erase last year with a stellar 2010.


''Carlos is serious,'' said manager Lou Piniella, who knows he needs a happy, dominating Zambrano to retake the National League Central, especially with Ted Lilly expected to open on the disabled list. ''Carlos was embarrassed last year by -- how many games did he win last year? Nine? This year you're going to see a totally different pitcher.

''He's in great shape. He threw the ball really, really well today.''

(snip)

''I don't want to talk about '09,'' he said. ''I want to talk about 2010. I'm a proud guy, and obviously I wasn't proud of the season I had last year.

''This is a new season. I'm excited and I'm ready to go this season and put everything behind me and just think about staying healthy and [having] a good season.''


He also talked about scrapping his cutter:


Z also revealed that he's scrapped the cutter and will concentrate on the sinker, slider and "high fastball." The sinker is his best pitch, as it comes in heavy, like a cannonball. He also said most of his mistakes last year came on the cutter.



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46 Comments

gravedigger said:

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Johnny Weir got screwed last night. And not in the way I would have hoped for.

Doc said:

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I'm sure he got screwed in that way too.

Edelweiss said:

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Yes, he did. He was not as good as Lysacek, but he deserved the bronze.

*dan bradley said:

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Agreed.

gravedigger said:

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I'm glad he's dropping the cutter. If it doesn't work, don't force it.

HoboHanson said:

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Happy Birthday to our Leader. I love the Leader! The leader is good, the leader is great. We surrender our will, as of this day.

Doc said:

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My goodness...Julie really has become Al Yellon.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Do you still love the Leader, kids?
No!!!!
Who do you love now?
Hover bikes!!!

plamorte said:

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Happy Birthday Julie! Hope you like my gift: one free ride in my WinneDAGO Cubs RV with a free slice of pizza pie.

JulieDiCaro said:

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In a really sad but hilarious story, my Uncle Diego thought everyone knew his name when he first arrived in America.

They . . uh . . . weren't saying "Diego."

Edelweiss said:

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Speaking of birthdays, the Italian ski and luge teams celebrated a trainer's birthday today with a gigantic cheese and spinach dunpling the size of a beach ball. Of all the teams at these games, the Italians know how to have fun.

Doc said:

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I find it very appropriate that our favorite divorce lawyer's birthday is on the same day that Tiger Woods holds his press conference.

Happy Birthday, Julie. We are all very proud of you for making it to this age.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I really really wanted Tiger to swagger out there, say "Who the hell are YOU people to judge me? I'm Tiger Woods, bitches!", knock over the mic stand and stomp off.

Just stop talking and golf already.

Edelweiss said:

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Only in America dows anyone give a rat's ass about a celebrity having an extramarital affair. It was the same thing with Clinton. The only ones that should be concerned are the wives, and we women are quite capable of dealing with wayward husbands.

baturkey said:

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Happy birthday Julie! In honor of your birthday, the Cubs didn't lose today.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Best. Birthday Present. Ever.

AndCounting said:

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Happy birthday, Julie! I think you should celebrate with Tom Ricketts and the Wristbands over some coffee at Wrigley.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I celebrated my birthday with a four-hour emergency visitaton hearing this morning.

BLECH.

Edelweiss said:

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Happy Birthday! I might be able to get you a date with Yevgeny Plushenko, but I have to act fast. I will be coming home before the Olympics end.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Thanks, but I'll pass.

secdelahc said:

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Happy Birthday, Julie! I will commence the celebrations by going out to a Pistons game, getting drunk and yelling obscenities at random Detroit fans. I will then be killed. Enjoy your day!

jmkobus said:

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Happy Birthday Julie!

abe frohman said:

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I don't know if anyone else saw this, but on MLB Network or Baseball Tonight (I don't remember which it was, I was watching mindlessly at 4 am) I heard the report that the 5th starters spot on the Yankees is between Chad Gaudin (J'accuse!) and Sergio Mitre.

So . . .they're good enough for the 27-time (and defending) World Champions, but not the Cubs?

Awesome.

Doc said:

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Maybe in a few years Spellcheck could compete for the yankees fifth starter spot too.

Max Power said:

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Wait...it's Julie's birthday again? I thought we had a deal to give me a few days notice, Carl.

gravedigger said:

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if you go to the local pharmacy, they probably have some valentine's candy for 50% off.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I was going to say that I'm sure he's got time to pick up something nice from Russell Stover.

Max Power said:

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As for the celebrity name, I go with "Max and the wife."

Doc said:

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What did you do to Julie, Max? She's MIA today.

AndCounting said:

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How about "Max of Her Own"?

plamorte said:

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Hmmm if Max were to own an iPad would he call it his MaxiPad? Zing. Random thought, sorry. I do like "Max of Her Own" or if they were on Jersey Shore or something: "J-Pow"

gravedigger said:

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Oh man. LOL

JulieDiCaro said:

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I would say "thanks" for all the birthday wishes, but some of them were weird. So thanks for some of them.

I've been in court on an emergency hearing all day. BLEH.

On a note that I'm sure you guys are sick of by now, I'll be on ChicagoNow Radio tomorrow at 9:30 am (WGN)

Doc said:

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I'm really surprised they keep inviting you back.

HoboHanson said:

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Mine seems weird. Sorry. It was a Simpsons reference.

JulieDiCaro said:

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no, I GOT yours.

secdelahc said:

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Yeah, sorry about that... i got started a little early today.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Happy Birthday, Julie!!

abe frohman said:

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Lilly has "wear and tear" in his knee.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-cubs-lilly&prov=ap&type=lgns

Isn't the second day of Spring Training a little early for this? What's it going to be like in August?
Grph.

abe frohman said:

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And, because it's Friday and I don't want to work, THIS is an awesome commercial:
http://www.wimp.com/mansmell/

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hee hee. Those commercials make me laugh every time.

Maim said:

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Happy Birthday!

waxpaperbeercup said:

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happy birthday cubbiejulie

summerguy said:

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Happy Birthday!

MN Pat said:

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Happy birthday! In honor of your birthday I had pizza and beer with the rest of the impoverished grad students in my department.

JulieDiCaro said:

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thanks again for all the birthday wishes, guys.

We went to the Melting Pot for dinner. UGH. I'm just going to lay here for a while and allow the chocolate and cheese to migrate to my thighs.

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