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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Angels, Thursday 3/16

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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Greetings from the Valley of the Sun, where it is, in fact, sunny today, temperatures expected in the mid-70's (though right now it's 55), and I shall soon be attending my first baseball game of 2006!

Notes: Derrek Lee won't play for the USA today, resting the shoulder he hurt in Sunday's game.

Or will he?

"We'll see tomorrow," said Lee. "The Cubs don't want me to play, but if I feel like I can play, I'm going to play. I'm not going to be stupid about it, but if I feel like I'm not hurting anything, I'm going to play."

I guess he won't:

"My understanding is that he needed to rest for 48 hours, and that includes the game," said Team USA manager Buck Martinez. "My inclination would be to play it conservatively, anyway. I don't want him to do anything against Mexico that would hamper him from playing on Saturday in San Diego. With Roger Clemens starting tomorrow, I'm very comfortable with the other guys I'll have on the field."

Well, that "Saturday in San Diego" presumes that the USA wins tonight; with Korea's 2-1 win over Japan last night, the USA moves to the semifinals with a win over Mexico tonight. Given the loss to the Koreans on Sunday, that's no sure thing.

Today in Tempe, Rich Hill -- whose performance now takes on more importance given the uncertainty about Mark Prior's status -- faces the Angels' Jeff Weaver. I'll report back after the game.

Discuss amongst yourselves.