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Arizona Dreaming...

... and that's why this recap is going to be pretty short, because I've been running around like a maniac today trying to get done the 3,000 things I have to do before I get on a plane tomorrow afternoon to get to spring training!

I suspect a lot of you were out enjoying the great weather in Chicago and the midwest today -- it was 75 degrees in the city today, a record for this date, and it's always nice to get a taste of summer this early in the season. Definitely whets the appetite for baseball.

The Cubs lost to the Diamondbacks 6-5 today, kind of a nothing game. Wade Miller neither pitched great nor awful, so he neither pitched himself into nor out of the fifth starter slot -- yet, at least. Felix Pie had two hits today.

I spoke to my friend Brian today; he's already at spring training and I'll see him on Thursday, more importantly, he gave me an update on his brother -- Kevin Ciarrachi, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this offseason. He is, as you know if you've been here a while, a catcher who's spent time in the Mets and Pirates organizations and also playing for the Rockford Riverhawks of the Frontier League. He'll be playing Double-A minor league games, which start on Saturday (they're playing intrasquad now). I'm going to try to get to Fitch Park to see him (and, of course, some of our other prospects) play.

I was also pleased -- selfishly, I admit -- to see that Mark Prior's minor league start was pushed back from Thursday to Friday. Since the Cubs play in Tucson on Friday, I'll definitely head to Fitch Park to watch Prior throw on Friday and report back to all of you on what I see. Speaking now from an unselfish and practical standpoint, this has to be another setback -- Prior threw on the side today, and then got pushed back a day. We may never know the real reason why.

So with more packing to do, I'll leave you with this spring training story. I'm sure you are familiar, from having watched ST games on TV, with the age-old practice of having players who have left the game early, running sprints in the outfield during the game.

It seems that tradition is now falling by the wayside, at least for pitchers:

For those who want to, teams prefer that their pitchers stick to practice fields. They can work there in private and stay out of harm's way - no heckling from fans and no chance of getting hit by a David Ortiz drive into the gap, either.

At some places, it's more than a suggestion. At Legends Field, it's an order.

A sign on the door leading from the locker room to the dugout succinctly tells New York Yankees' opponents: Do not use main field for jogging during games. Use practice field 3.

"It started here," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday. "George Steinbrenner thought it kind of cheapened spring training to see players running on the field during games, even if it was a tradition to some people."

Well, hmph. It did seem sort of odd, but to me it was part of the charm of spring training. I hope I'll see some of this still happening in Mesa.

Tomorrow's an off-day, the Cubs' only one of the spring; I'll try to have an off-day post of some sort up in the morning.