Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mid Week Roundup: Lilly, a Bus Stop, the Lineup, & More

Today the Cubs beat the Rangers by a score of 4-1. We are now about half way through Spring Training! Let's get you caught up on Everything Cubs, starting with the highlights of today's game.

Silva Shows Improvement
Today Carlos Silva got the start in Mesa. After a disastrous first start of the Cactus Leauge, Carlos got back on track. He pitched 4 shutout innings today allowing just 2 hits. Prior to today's game, Carlos learned that his mother has obtained a 10-year Visa. She will now be able to come to Chicago to watch him pitch. With the struggles of Samardzija, Carlos actually has a decent shot of making the starting rotation. Look for a full position battles update post on the off day tomorrow.

The Rest of the Staff
Cubs pitching was good all day long. Esmalin Caridad worked 2 shutout innings and struck out three. Caridad will be given a chance to be a primary set-up man in the Cubs' bullpen. Marcos Mateo allowed the only Ranger run of the day by surrendering a solo homer. Mateo still looked sharp, as the long ball was the only hit he allowed in 1.1 innings. Jeff Stevens put a zero on the board in the eighth, and then lefty James Russell retired the side in order in the 9th to record the save.

Cub Hitters Today
Tracy, Fontenot, Hoffpauir, and Soto all went hitless today, but there were still some good performances at the plate. Ryan Theriot went 2-3 to boost his average .565. Tyler Colvin continued his red hot spring with a base hit in his only at bat. Xavier Nady was the star of the show with a pair of doubles driving in a total of 3 runs.

Theriot to Lead Off
Short stop Ryan Theriot has earned his spot atop the Cubs' lineup with his high batting average this spring. Lou Piniella has announced that his Opening Day start lineup will most likely look like this:
Theriot, SS
Kosuke, RF
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Byrd, CF
Soriano, LF
Fontenot, 2B
Soto, C
Zambrano, P

There is still a chance that Baker could swipe the starting second base job from Mike Fontenot, but Piniella is leaning towards 'lil Mike. Soto will start the year batting 8th, but if he shows that he is the same guy he was in 2008 he could climb in the order quickly.

Cubs Idol
In the Cubs clubhouse, the team's version of American Idol has been taking place. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Kevin Millar, and Ryan Dempster are the panel of judges. John Gaub and Mike Parasi beat out Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir in the Semi-final round of the singing today. Gaub and Parisi- both minor leauge pitchers- will battle for the title of "Cub Idol".

Middle of the Order to Return
Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs' number 3 and 4 hitter respectively, are expected to return to the lineup on Thursday. Both have been out for a few days with some minor injuries. The team has a day off tomorrow, and then they take on the Dodgers on Thursday at 3:00 pm CT. Expect to see Kevin Millar and Jeff Baker spending some time in the outfield later this week (the Cubs may be deciding whether or not they need Hoffpauir).

Samardzija to Throw at Fitch
Jeff Samardzija will stay on his schedule by pitching on the off day tomorrow in a minor league intersquad game at Fitch Park. Jeff is slated to work about 4 innings.

Bus Breaks Down
The Cubs trip to Tuscan for a Cactus Leauge game against the Rockies went from long to LONG when the bus broke down about 45 minutes outside of Mesa on Monday. Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild were driving separately. The rest of the guys were forced to sit in the desert with no air conditioning for about an hour. Perhaps this lead to their loss that day.

Ted Lilly Updates
Lilly is hoping to get into some Cactus League action soon. Everything has gone according to plan so far, so Lou is hopeful that Ted will only miss 2 regular season starts. He will spend those two starts on minor league rehab. In other Lilly related news, Ted and his wife Natasha had their first child on Sunday. Their son's name? Theodore Roosevelt Lilly IV!

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

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