Well, with the baseball season approaching - less than a month until pitchers and catchers report - the engines of the writers are starting to warm up again. Nothing too exciting, yet. But some interesting notes.
Jeff Samardzija plans on reporting to camp Jan. 24th - about a week from now, and three weeks early. He started his training program in November, apparently.Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild is realistic about Samardzija's chances of making a quantum leap to the big club after only one full year in the minors.
"Right now it would be a push. But I would love to see him compete and have us start thinking that maybe he can do it," Rothschild said. "There is a learning curve and he is still in the middle of it. But all the pieces are there: the ability, the makeup, the competitiveness, so it's just a matter of time.
"If that time is now, that would be great. If it's not, that's OK."
Samardzija has added a split-finger pitch to his repertoire.
"I didn't really throw a splitter last year, which I do have," he said. "My changeup is coming along. It's nice to have this extra two or three months to work on your changeup and slider."
Do I think anything will come of it? Quite frankly, not a whole lot. But it's nice to see that sort of dedication, at least.
Lou doesn't much care about the 100 years thing. Chris DeLuca also says that the Cubs could move Fukudome into center if Pie strugles; presumably Murton or (shudder) Ward would move to right field. He doesn't give any indication if this is something he heard or speculation on his part. [If you were wondering - Murton/Ward? Entirely speculation on my part.]
Less speculative - Lou says Fukudome could hit second or fifth. Oh, and this will suprise you - Mark DeRosa isn't 100% thrilled by the efforts to replace him.
[editor's note, by Al] I haven't done this in a while, but cwyers' diary was, well, pretty much what I was going to do this morning -- a headline post, with pretty much the same headlines I was going to post. So, I'm moving it to the front page. There's only one other news item I wanted to call people's attention to:A 36-year-old Pardeeville man accusing of tying up his 7-year-old son with tape Saturday after the boy refused to wear a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt during the divisional playoff game against Seattle said the incident was a joke that "got blown way out of proportion." Matthew Kowald was arrested Monday on tentative felony charges of causing mental harm to a child and false imprisonment, but was issued only a disorderly conduct citation for the incident. What is with those Packers fans?