Most of this stuff wasn't important enough to recieve individual diaries earlier, but it may be worth a roundup.
If you want to talk Big Z, there's a main page post for you. On to the headlines!
The former staff ace, who threw an encouraging bullpen session Monday, plans to stick primarily with a fastball-slider repertoire as a reliever, sprinkling in the occasional changeup.
Wood's curveball has been blamed for some of his elbow and shoulder injuries over the years, but it's an easy pitch for him to shelve as a reliever, considering it's not his best pitch and he needs fewer pitches anyway if he has to pitch only an inning or two at a time.
''That would be a pitch I would usually use later in the game as I got tired,'' he said. ''I probably won't use it as much.''
"Today was probably 80-85 percent [of normal velocity]," Wood said. "Once this chest thing becomes a non-issue and I get it completely out of the way, I'll be able to turn it up.
"But I was going full-out before I came to camp, so I was ready to go, and this thing has kind of slowed it down. I figure one or two more times off the mound and I should be ready to go."
This, to all accounts, sounds like a healthy enough Kerry Wood. I don't know what to think, exactly.
The Sun-Times is continuing to have the Tribune "on trial," which so far as I can tell is their way of saying "filling the paper with fluff until Mariotti stops being on furlough." Now, I can't speak for anyone else, but I would probably actually subscribe to the S-T if they would just leave Mariotti's space blank. That would be something like awesome. Or at least an improvement over Mariotti.
Lou Piniella said Monday he has "a lot of choices" for his bullpen. Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, Will Ohman and Neal Cotts will be in the pen, barring injuries.
That leaves one spot open. The battle appears to be one between righties Michael Wuertz and Roberto Novoa.
That's right, folks -- we could be looking at a bullpen without Roberto Novoa. [I honestly think I'm allergic to Roberto Novoa. I'm pretty sure I go straight to anaphylaxis whenever he toes rubber in a game situation. I would seriously advocate the Cubs trading away Novoa along with a hot prospect infield rake in order to get the Cubs a veteran presence at the infield rake position.]
I would like to think that this is a pretty open-and-shut decision, this business of choosing between the two, but... but somehow Novoa spent all of last year with the Cubs and Wuertz had 10 saves and 6 wins at AAA last year.
And A-Ram has finally showed up. I tease, I tease... Aramis showed up to spring training, which is more than you can say for some other Ramirez.
And while A-Ram is unwilling to set goals on offense, he does have one personal goal for this year:
Next on the third baseman's wish list is a Gold Glove.
"I'm trying to -- I'm working for it," Ramirez said. "I'm working on my defense every offseason every year. I'm getting better every year. One day I'll get one for my kids."
You can make your own jokes about his defense in the past -- please, feel free. But I think it's laudable that he's setting his sights high.
And finally... Ron Santo is getting another shot in front of the Veterans Committee. This is only perhaps the most important issue facing our society, absent perhaps finding a cure for cancer. We're watching you, committee folk!