A League of Her Own

Cubs Thursday Headlines: And So It Begins

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Photo Courtesy Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

I know we were all looking forward to having some photos of the Cubs arriving at Spring Training today, but alas, they haven't started to roll into LOHO's authorized photo cache yet, so you'll all have to make due with this photo from Spring Training last year. Deal with it.

Hey, it looks like Ted Lilly thinks he's going to be ready for Opening Day:

MESA, Ariz. -- There's no official date for Ted Lilly's return, but the Cubs left-hander does have a goal in mind: Opening Day.

"I don't know what the date is," Lilly said Wednesday. "I'd like to be ready when all the other healthy guys are. That would be good for me. If I can't, I'll be disappointed.

"I have to understand that sometimes you take one step back to gain a couple forward. The whole idea is to not only come back as soon as possible and be out there contributing but be productive, too."

Lilly is coming back from arthroscopic surgery in early November on his left shoulder. It was a minor procedure. He has yet to throw off a mound but is playing catch, and on Tuesday he was able to throw from about 120 feet. On Wednesday, the day pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park, Lilly and Ryan Dempster went for a long run.

Okay . .  at least we know his legs work.

If Lilly can come back ahead of schedule and keep the terrifying prospect of Spellcheck in the starting rotation at bay, I would very much appreciate it:

MESA, Ariz. -- For the first time since he committed 100 percent to baseball, Jeff Samardzija rarely put the ball down this offseason. He's hoping that dedication pays off with a spot in the Cubs' rotation.

Samardzija threw off the mound Monday at Fitch Park, well ahead of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, which is scheduled for Thursday. He's been in Arizona for a few weeks along with Carlos Zambrano, who also tuned up with an early-bird session Monday. Samardzija, Zambrano, Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall and others all decided they'd had enough of the cold weather up north and it was time to get to work.

"I was joking around with a couple guys that this has turned into a 220-game year with Spring Training being so big and the season being so big and hopefully past that," Samardzija said. "It's going to be a long haul, but hopefully we come out of the gates sharp."

But never fear, just when it starts to sound like Spellcheck may finally be maturing, he comes through:

Being in Mexico for one month isn't a bad assignment either. He thrived on the street food in Mexicali.

"The only problem was when you did want a burger or craved some pizza, it had a Mexican twist to it," he said. "Some Tecate Lights took care of that."

 God bless Carrie Muskat for printing that.

A day many of us have been waiting a lifetime (or at least a couple of seasons) for may finally be upon us. It looks like tomorrow or Saturday the Cubs will get to point out all the stupid things Ryan Theriot does. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of this one:

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs appear headed to an arbitration hearing with shortstop Ryan Theriot, the first such hearing for the team under general manager Jim Hendry.

Hendry will travel to Tampa, Fla., on Thursday for the hearing, which will be either Friday or Saturday. The shortstop is asking for $3.4 million while the Cubs have countered at $2.6 million. Arbitration hearings are scheduled through Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since Mark Grace in 1993.

I invite you all to help the Cubs out by making Jim Hendry's case in the comments below.

Bruce Miles, who, as far as I can tell, has never complained about me to any of the powers that be at ChicagoNow (wish I could say the same for all Chicago's beat writers),  has some real news for us from HoHoKam:

- Jim Hendry just told us two pitchers, Jeff Gray and Angel Guzman, will be slowed at the start of camp. Gray has a "mild groin strain," the result of doing pitcher's fielding practice down here. Guzman had arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago after hurting himself in Venezuela. Hendry cited Ted Lilly's quick recovery last year from a knee scope and said Guzman (who has had a history of injury problems) won't have any trouble being ready this spring or for Opening Day.

--Lou says he likes the team's offense and that pitching will be a question at the start. Jim says the Cubs have about nine guys competing for bench jobs, including Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Brad Snyder, Sam Fuld and others.

--Jim will not be here the next two days as he and front-office man Scott Nelson head to Florida for what looks like an unavoidable arbitration hearing with shortstop Ryan Theriot.

--Lou said he's figuring on April 15-May 1 for lefty Ted Lilly's return. Lilly said he didn't know but he did ask whether a "fortune-teller" had given the Trib their prediction of June the other day.

--Starlin Castro figures to play a lot this spring, but Lou said it's likely Theriot would be the shortstop Opening Day. I don't see the Cubs rushing Castro.

--Theriot figures to do most of the leadoff hitting, with Kosuke Fukudome batting second most of the time, according to Lou. Theriot's OBP will have to improve from the .343 he turned in last year after putting up .387 in 2008. Lou said he hopes Theriot can get on and that Fukudome can use the hole between first and second.

Don't forget that today is your last chance to pay 20% for the privilege of dealing with the virtual waiting room one day ahead of schedule. The non-presale sale kicks off tomorrow at 10:00 am CT. Good luck, everyone!

As long as you're hanging out in the VWR, you might as well grab a bleacher ticket or two to the June 19 Saturday game against the Braves. That's officially LOHO day in the bleachers. To attend, all you have to do is grab a ticket and meet us at a pre-determined bar prior to the first pitch.

If you don't feel like paying $500 to attend a ball game,  consider paying $75 to see the game and eat and drink all you want at the May 18th rooftop game at Skybox on Sheffield. We're going to need a firm head count by tomorrow, so if you want in, speak now or forever hold your peace.

We also still have a few spots left in LOHO's Fantasy Baseball League. Choose from the Beer Pong League (beginners/slackers), The Cool Kids League (for non-casual baseball fans), and the SABR Jerks League (for the jerks who like to throw out things like "WARP," "VORP," "VARP," "BURP," and a bunch of other acronyms I'm pretty sure they've made up.) Everyone is welcome to play--just sign up in the comments or shoot me an email.

Finally, tonight is the ChicagoNow meetup at Clark Street Ale House (742 N.Clark Street) at 6:00 pm. Stop by and hang out with your favorite bloggers and commenters.

In conclusion, I really, REALLY want to see "Shutter Island."

Have a great Thursday,  Cubs fans.

 

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39 Comments

plamorte said:

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Boo I wish I had money to go to these games! Buying a house sort of depletes all my funds...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Pfft. You don't NEED a house. You do need to come to some games with us.

AndCounting said:

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For real. I'll be there. Your house will never come to a game.

plamorte said:

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I know, peer pressure, but I'll have no house to come back to if I blow my wad. I'm young people, I live paycheck to paycheck! I'll be there in spirit, I'll tweet the whole time I promise.

berselius said:

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He should just buy an RV instead, Rod Beck style

JulieDiCaro said:

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That would finally be a good decision by Pat. He could park it at Wrigley and we could all hang out before and after the game.

Do it, Pat!

plamorte said:

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So tempting...i could buy a Winnebago and rename it WinneDAGO. And we could eat pizza and follow the Cubs around all summer

JulieDiCaro said:

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I love this plan. I'm excited to be a part of it.

itsjenjen said:

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We need to come up with a nickname for Smadjzazzzzas whatever his name is.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That's why we call him "Spellcheck." None of us actually knows how to spell his name.

itsjenjen said:

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Good-when I see that, I'll know. ;)

JulieDiCaro said:

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What is UP with Tiger and this stupid statement? Who cares? I don't want to hear his fake apology and I don't think he's needs forgiveness from anyone other than his family.

Just get back to golf already. I don't tune in to watch you be married.

AndCounting said:

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It's basically Tiger standing in front of America, boom box held aloft, setting our forgiveness to music courtesy of Peter Gabriel.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't WANT him to want my forgiveness. He's Tiger Woods--who the hell am I?

Jeez Tiger, what happened to the swagger? Now that everyone knows what a player you are, you should have more of it than ever.

AndCounting said:

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I'm guessing his current (if there are any) and future sponsors want the forgiveness more than anything. I know Tiger makes a lot of money golfing, but in that sport the income is almost all endorsements. Playing golf is what Tiger and friends do to pay their 1st quarter taxes.

berselius said:

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Re: Theriot arb case. Aside from the obvious TOOTBLAN stuff, we've been arguing about the Theriot arb stuff for the past week or so over at ACB. MB did a big post comparing Theriot to three other shortstops (Steven Drew, J.J. Hardy, and Jason Bartlett) who reached their first arb years. In summary, this is what he found:

These 4 shortshops averaged this much WAR over the previous 2 years:

* Ryan Theriot: 2.18
* Stephen Drew: 2.15
* Jason Bartlett: 1.98
* JJ Hardy: 1.95

The three comps for Theriot settled on 1-year deals for this amount of money

Drew: 1/3.4
Bartlett: 1/1.9
Hardy: 1/2.65

Theriot is asking for 3.4, the Cubs countered with 2.6

Given that these players posted WAR numbers that were very close to one another's, if you presented this evidence to me it would seem that the team should win. Those players were paid an avg of $1.3m per win based on their production over the past 2 years, and the Cubs are spot on that number.

berselius said:

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I should have said that the numbers are what he put up in that post, the rest is my own conclusion. MB thinks Theriot will win, I do not.

JulieDiCaro said:

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My dream is for TOOTBLANs to play a huge role in this hearing, and for them to become an accepted, valid stat.

LostinFla said:

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The only thing about WAR I know is that if I was going to war, I wouldn't want to take Ryan Theriot.

If we still had Ronny Cedeno, I WOULD take him. He would be the first one "over the top".

plamorte said:

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Update on my listening to Cubs at work dilemma:

Sirius radio has an iPhone app! I can stream right from there using my companies log in (FREE for me) and plug phone into my CPU speakers and TA-DA! Pat and Ron all summer long!

secdelahc said:

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I'm hoping to get my ticket for LOHO day in the next couple of days. Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to make it for a rooftop game.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Wheeee!!!!!!!

Doc said:

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Sadly...I have discovered I will not be able to go to the May 18th game at all now...I have a track meet that I need to work at that day. :( If anyone needs to buy no-roof top tickets for that day...I have them available (but I suggest hanging around Julie all game on the rooftop).

Dmband said:

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I agree with your post related to Theriot...Ive always been extremely curious as to how the teams approach basically telling a player that you are counting on for the season he's not that good. I assume they stick to the numbers for the most part...is there ever any significant details released with those hearings?

Edelweiss said:

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I wonder who Theriot's agent is, and which other players he represents. His attitude seemed to take an about turn last year, and I wonder if that might be because of his represesntative.

gravedigger said:

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So, Al says Ted Lilly is going to have an MRI on his knee.

I'm going to go on ahead and jump to the conclusion that the news is bad and the season is already over. Sound about right?

Doc said:

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What other possible conclusion could come from this?

flyball said:

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I agree

so, can we start talking about the offseason moves leading into 2011 now?

Doc said:

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Yeah...I think the Cubs should trade Marlon Byrd.

baturkey said:

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I know, he has no stolen bases so far in 2010, the bum.

Doc said:

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He's a complete bust.

Dmband said:

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That would put a serious wrench in my "Unbiased fan support of Marlon Byrd regardless of performance to piss off Milton Bradley" plan.

MillsChC said:

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I think Theriot should get whatever he asks for... based on the sole reason that Chad Fox made more than him last year.

Doc said:

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I agree with that...as along as he doesn't ask for more than $2.6 million.

Doc said:

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I feel dirty.

I just posted a comment at ABATT. I'm going to go take a shower.

gravedigger said:

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I'm his friend on facebook. beat THAT

secdelahc said:

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Whatever. so am I. On a side note, I've been drinking tonight. What are the odds I fail my interview miserably tomorrow?

gravedigger said:

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heh i was also drunk when i posted that

summerguy said:

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Me and a few friends will attend the rooftop game... I'll send ya an email/facebook message tomorrow(today) with exact numbers.

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