Open Thread: Cubs vs. Mariners, Friday 3/7, 2:05 CT

Hang in there. After today, the Cubs' next three games will all be televised (Saturday and Sunday on WGN, Monday on CSN; the Sunday and Monday games are also on MLB.TV), so you'll be able to follow most of the action.

Mark DeRosa is champing at the bit to start playing. The team wants him to take live BP first; DeRo says:

"If I'm going to struggle, this is the time to struggle in these games," DeRosa said. "I'm not too concerned about what my batting average is going to be in Spring Training. I'd rather be baptized by fire and get after it."

I like that attitude.

Kerry Wood's been throwing 98 MPH. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times asked Wood:

And the last time he threw 98 in the spring?

"Probably, uh, never."

Not since 1998, anyway. That spring I sat for one of Wood's starts behind one of the scouts with a radar gun. I wanted to see for myself how fast Wood was throwing. The gun consistently showed between 96 and 98.

Wood's got to be the front-runner for closer now. It makes the most sense -- he's got the velocity and the mentality, and both Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry seem better suited for setup work. This could work out to be the best late-inning bullpen trio the Cubs have had in, well, maybe ever.

Bruce Miles writes today about something we've all seen: Lou Piniella's competitive fire.

Today's game is available at the Mediacenter -- you'll hear the Mariners announcers via KOMO radio. Ted Lilly gets the start for the Cubs; Carlos Silva will go for Seattle. Left-handers Ryan Rowland-Smith and Eric O'Flaherty and right-handers R.A. Dickey and Sean Green are also scheduled to throw for Seattle. The latter info is from the Mariners website; I'm not sure why the Cubs website doesn't give this additional info. (Carrie Muskat? Are you listening?) Incidentally, Dickey can be fun to watch. He's a knuckleballer. A couple of years ago, he threw six shutout innings, allowing three hits, in a spring game vs. the Cubs, when he was with the Rangers.

Lineups, courtesy of Bruce Miles:

Bruce also tells me that Alfonso Soriano is scheduled to return to the lineup tomorrow. Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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