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2002 Rears Its Ugly Head Again

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Today's one-sided 6-0 Cub loss to the Giants -- and it wasn't as close as the score indicated -- looked a lot like last year's impotent Cub offense. No one could get anything going against Damian Moss and three lower-rung Giant relievers; the only thing close to a scoring rally was in the first inning, when Alex Gonzalez singled, and stopped at third on a Sammy Sosa double. No one else did anything, except for Hee Seop Choi, who walked twice, both off of Moss, which I find to be an encouraging development. Choi has great strike zone judgment and made a couple more nifty stops in the field today.

Other notes:

* Mark Grudzielanek got the start again, and again went 0-for-3. A note in this article in the San Francisco Chronicle says that Dusty might even consider starting Ramon Martinez ahead of Hill and Grudz. This would weaken the bench, and not solve the problem. To Dusty, I preach patience with Bobby Hill, who could easily start out of the gate hot, even though he's not hit at all during the spring.

* Matt Clement threw well enough, but got himself into trouble with walks in the second, and a hit batsman in the fourth, which led to three of the four runs he allowed. I think Dusty would have liked Clement to throw six today, but with his pitch count up in the fifth, he was pulled.

* Rod Beck made another strong push to make the roster, throwing a totally uneventful scoreless sixth inning, and he had terrific movement on his pitches. In an odd little move, Baker had Mike Remlinger get the first two outs in the eighth, then brought in Dave Veres, who promptly gave up two line drive doubles down the line. I don't think Remlinger was hurt, I think Dusty just wanted Veres to get some work in.

* As yesterday in Mesa, the Scottsdale crowd (a huge turnout of 11,424, about 1,000 over listed capacity) was about half and half between Cubs and Giants fans. All of the remaining fans gave a loud cheer to Dusty Baker as he walked out to the CF gate after the game.

* Despite the fact that he had no offers to play this year, and is unofficially retired, the box score for today's game credited Shawon Dunston with homering off Francis Beltran in the 7th. It was actually Ray Durham; probably someone punched the wrong button on an alphabetical list of names.

* Howard and Jon and I, despite the fact that they are both vegetarians, went to a barbecue restaurant tonight. While I chowed down on a half-chicken, they both managed to find vegetarian fare. You just have to be creative in situations like this!

On to Mesa tomorrow and my first look at Mark Prior this spring.