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You Can Read This Anywhere, But...

I'm glad you've come here.

Soon, you'll get first-hand reports from spring training here.

But for now, I'm stuck reading the game stories and box scores and notes on the Internet and in the papers with the rest of you, as there's a forecast of snow in Chicago tonight, while it's supposed to get into the 90's in the Phoenix area this weekend (Yay!).

Anyway, today was a good day in Mesa, in front of an extraordinarily large crowd for a Monday (and against a non-marquee opponent, Kansas City), 12,717, the Cubs beat the Royals 3-2.

Everything clicked today. Kerry Wood threw four scoreless innings, striking out four. The rest of the staff gave up the two runs, one by Sergio Mitre, one by LaTroy Hawkins, and again, as he did on Saturday, Joe Borowski came in and shut down the 9th inning.

Nic Jackson homered for the Cubs, who had only six hits. I'd expect that the lefthand-hitting Jackson will be one of the starting outfielders at Iowa this year, and if he regains the top-prospect status he had a couple of years ago, he could wind up as a September callup, and possibly in the mix to replace Moises Alou in 2005. Sammy Sosa got the day off, which gives him two days off, since the entire ballclub has the day off tomorrow, the last day off until Sunday, April 4, the day before Opening Day in Cincinnati.

The Cubs made a few roster cuts today, none of them surprising at all. Brendan Harris, Jon Leicester and Felix Sanchez were sent to Iowa. Harris is hurt and may not play for a while; it's possible that Leicester and/or Sanchez might return for bullpen duty later in the year. Angel Guzman, Renyel Pinto and Ronny Cedeno were sent to West Tenn of the Southern League -- Guzman, of course, is probably the organization's next "to-be-ready" prospect. I'd expect him to be at Iowa by the second half of the season and perhaps get a September callup this year. LHP Carlos Vasquez was sent to Class-A Daytona and two non-roster players, Scott Chiasson and LHP John Foster, returned to minor league camp. Chiasson was once thought to be a bullpen star of the future, but has spent most of the last two years rehabbing from injury. If healthy, he could wind up at Iowa as well.

Oh, Mike treated me to lunch today, which I thought was awfully nice. Four weeks from today, we resume our perch on the bleacher bench we've shared for 25 years. He said, and I agreed, that this is the most-anticipated Cub season in our lifetimes. We hope it lives up to the hype.

With tomorrow's off-day, I'm going to turn this blog briefly political on Tuesday and will post some thoughts on the U.S. Senate primary election that's to take place in Illinois tomorrow.