A League of Her Own

Cubs Sunday Headlines

"I know we'll meet again some sunny day"

The Cubs cut their roster to 40 on Saturday, and one of those heading to minor league camp is, as expected, Starlin Castro. What the future holds, no one knows. But he gave us one magical spring.
"I felt good with the experience, first time being up here," Castro said. "I'm going to go down there and work hard and try to get back up here as soon as possible."

Castro, who turns 20 on Wednesday, used Geovany Soto as his interpreter but when asked if he felt he was ready to play in the big leagues, he didn't need help with his answer.

"I'm ready," Castro said. "I'm ready to play in the big leagues."

Lou seemed to like the kid:

"Castro had a phenomenal spring for a young player," Piniella said. "Nineteen years old, to come in here and look like a veteran and swing the bat. He showed his athleticism. He came in here highly touted and left here even more touted."

I wish he would've said "touteder".

Gordon Wittenmyer shares with us his tale of the three Carloses who could determine the fate of the Cubs this year. First up, is the underdog.

Silva joined the Cubs as a $25 million albatross acquired from the Seattle Mariners for $22 million headache Milton Bradley. And conventional wisdom suggested the Cubs would be lucky to get some decent bullpen work out of him in the remaining two years of his contract.

But if mid-March performances mean anything -- and don't put the mortgage on this just yet -- Silva looks as though he has rediscovered the early-career form that saw him win 14 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2004. His last start was a clinic in aggressive, sinker-ball pitcher effectiveness. And if he backs it up with another one like that today, he'll nail down a job in the Cubs' rotation.

''The good thing is, with this team, I feel very comfortable and I'm very happy here,'' said Silva, who looked lost with the Mariners with two different pitching coaches the last two seasons. ''I know I can pitch.''

Next up, the closer:

Marmol's importance has risen significantly because of the season-ending injury to setup man Angel Guzman. It's critical that Marmol pitches more like the dominant, confident guy who made the All-Star team as a setup man in 2008 and less like the guy who was so wild for much of last season that he threatened to lead the league in hit batters.

''I like the way Marmol's throwing,'' manager Lou Piniella said, referring to his eight strikeouts in five one-inning appearances this spring. ''He's confident. I wish I had three or four more like him.''

Finally, the ace:

Zambrano was rightfully ''embarrassed'' by his paltry victory total last season and seemed to take pains to show up in better shape this spring (again). But whether he can eliminate the meltdowns, blowups and letdowns that have derailed would-be Cy Young seasons in the past is the bigger question.

It might be the biggest question for the Cubs, who almost certainly could ride into September contention if this is finally the season Zambrano puts it together for all six months.

As Piniella said early in camp: ''We need Carlos.''

Carrie Muskat has an update on the competition for the final bullpen spots.

Justin Berg not only won the Cubs Idol competition on Saturday but also appears to have locked up a spot in the bullpen. Lou Piniella said there are four pitchers competing for one spot and that group includes John Gaub, James Russell, Marcus Mateo and Mike Parisi. When asked about Berg, Piniella said: "Berg is in. Berg has done a nice job."

That means the 'pen now consists of closer Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Berg, and two of the four pitchers who don't make the rotation. That list includes Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

"I like the arms we have and I like the mix we have," Piniella said.

And the bench situation is still unclear:

As for the bench, that's still to be decided. Andres Blanco has been out with an injury, which hasn't helped his chances. "I don't know exactly what's going to happen there," Piniella said.

They'd like to keep an outfielder who can play all three spots, especially because Xavier Nady is limited. And they like both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar.

"There's a lot to say about a veteran's contribution and leadership from your bench players," Piniella said. "There's some nice subtle important decisions to make here over the next four, five days."

As for the rotation, yesterday's starters were a mixed bag:

Projected starter Tom Gorzelanny walked five and allowed four hits but managed to avoid any earned runs (two unearned) in 3-2/3 innings against Oakland. He had five strikeouts.

Carlos Zambrano, battling aftereffects from a fever and sinus pain the night before, pitched five scoreless innings against the Royals, giving up just three hits and two walks, including just two hits and a walk after the first inning.



Recent Posts


Leave a comment


JulieDiCaro said:


Silva starts in today's 3:05 CT game against the Reds. The game is on WGN tv.

Teebob2000 said:


It's not shown on the programming listings or on the 'GN website...

JulieDiCaro said:


BLAH--now it's just showing up on WGN audio. I SWEAR that was NOT what it said an hour ago!


Teebob2000 said:


Cockeyed optimist (aka "idiot") that I am, I'm really looking forward to this season. Amongst the things working against us are those 6 games the hated Cards play against hapless KC. That's probably 4-5 "free" wins for them, the bastards.

JulieDiCaro said:



SS Fontenot
2B Barney
RF Colvin
LF Millar
3B Tracy
1B Hufflepuff
C Chirinos
CF Fuld
P Silva

It just occurred to me: that lineup is my worst nightmare. Then again, we ARE playing the Reds.

Teebob2000 said:


Yeah, that is a kinda squidgy lineup.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:


I think everyone else went to the company picnic.

Teebob2000 said:


** chirping crickets **

secdelahc said:


They're busy watching their brackets collapse.

Edelweiss said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

The game was shown on Cincinnatti's local network, but I wish it weren't. The camera panned into the Cub's dugout and caught Hoffpauir picking his nose and putting the product in his mouth!!!

kiwibob said:


Probably tastes better than his chances of making the team right now...

secdelahc said:


Oh, for those who love Woody:

He's starting the season out on the DL again. Boo.

MillsChC said:


Saw this tweet by Wittenmeyer: "cst_cubs: Uh oh. Silva out after 2 innings. Waiting for report from dugout."

There is not a universe in our existence where that statement deserves an "Uh oh" before it.

Leave a Comment?

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em

What your comment will look like:


what will you say?

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook

A League of Her Own on Facebook

A League of Her Own - A Chicago Cubs Blog on Facebook