Let's All Calm Down Now, Shall We?

The Cubs lost to the Rangers 6-5 this afternoon at Mesa.

OK! Bye! That's it! See you tomorrow!

No, you're right, that's not it. You're all holding your breath because of what's in the post below, the fact that Kerry Wood left today's game while he was warming up for the third inning because his shoulder felt "tight".

If this is the sort of breathless hype we are going to have surrounding every little thing this year, we will all be exhausted by Opening Day.

Look at what Wood himself said after the game:

"The inning before [in the second], there was a little tightness in the shoulder," Wood said. "I finished the inning and everything felt great, fine. I came in and sat down and everything felt great.

"[Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild] said if I felt anything at all to let him know," Wood said. "There was a little bit of tightness and it's too early to be messing around with anything like that, so we decided it would be best to shut it down for the day."

And that should be the end of this story. First of all, Wood's problems in the first six years of his career have all been elbow-related. He has never had a problem with his shoulder, and from what the above quotes say, along with the rest of the article, I think this is a worthwhile precaution, given what happened with both Wood and Mark Prior last year.

A telling thing here is that Cub management didn't hustle Wood into the trainer's room and have him avoid the media after the game, trying to put a spin on something that apparently doesn't need to be spun.

Repeat after me:

We. All. Need. To. Just. Calm. Down.

Ryan Dempster also didn't do very well today; he threw 2.2 innings, allowing three runs, which is bad enough, but he also walked three. This is what's prevented Dempster, who has great stuff, from becoming a premier major league pitcher -- lack of control. Luckily, it's just a week into spring training.

Jeromy Burnitz drove in a couple of runs with a single today. Nobody homered for either team. It might have been a good day for some of the again less-than-capacity crowd of 9,080 to fall asleep on the lawn at Ho Ho Kam Park. But hey, it's Tuesday. And it's the Rangers. I would expect SRO crowds Friday vs. the hometown D'backs and Saturday vs. the Angels.

Other things I learned today from the usual "reliable sources":

Jim Hendry and Rothschild have been impressed with what they have seen of Angel Guzman. Very impressed. In fact, enough to consider changing plan A if he continues to have a strong spring. And... isn't it nice to think that there's an option if a starter does go down?

If Joe Borowski shows he is healthy and can pitch with the same effectiveness as he did in 2003, the Cubs are most likely going to come north with him as the designated closer and then see what the market has to offer if needed after that. This would put Ryan Dempster in the bullpen as a long man/setup man, or maybe even in the starter mix as well.

The Cubs are keeping a really close eye on Corey Patterson. After an at-bat where Patterson reverted back to last year's approach, new hitting coach Gene Clines got all over him, and then Todd Walker and Nomar Garciaparra -- can you say "leaders"? -- came by to offer sage advice.

There's the difference between this year and last -- being proactive, getting involved, not being laid back like last year's team and coaches seemed to be.

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