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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Friday 4/18, 1:20 CT

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It's good to know that Lou has players working on fundamentals. BCB reader ballhawk sent these to me, taken from the Wrigley webcam at 9:15 CT this morning:

Felix Pie

Ronny Cedeno

That looks like Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno practicing bunts. Nice to see. (Click on photos to open a larger version in a new browser window.)

More Friday morning notes:

  • Sam Zell says there is progress being made on the sale of the Cubs:
    Zell said in a conference call with creditors Thursday he now expects the confidential Cubs figures to be released to potential buyers in the next 10 days or so and a sale to be completed "sometime this year," regardless of what happens in ongoing negotiations with the state over Wrigley, or whatever the park winds up being called.
    The holdup, says the article, is in part because of the:
    efforts to work out a separate transaction with the state of Illinois for Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home, which has kept the company from releasing the ballclub's financial books to Major League Baseball-approved bidders.
    Hey, Sam: if this is what's holding it up, then sell the team and the park to the same entity!
  • For all of you who wanted Miguel Tejada, I'm guessing the Astros aren't too happy to find out he's going to be 34 next month, not 32.
  • Felix Pie isn't going anywhere (either traded or AAA). In fact, Bruce Miles tells us that Lou's trying to get him untracked:

    Cubs manager Lou Piniella says center fielder Felix Pie isn't a forgotten man.

    Quite the contrary, to hear Piniella tell it.

    "I've gotten involved," Piniella said before Thursday's game, which Pie did not start. "We're just shortening up his swing, getting him to hit more front-sided as opposed to back-sided. It might take a little bit, but I think it's going to really help him."

  • And in case you missed it, last night's Padres/Rockies game went 22 innings and lasted six hours and sixteen minutes.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
Cubs
vs. Ian Snell
I. Snell
Pirates
0-0 W-L 2-0
5.00 ERA 3.93
7 SO 15
7 BB 4
1 HR 1
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

I have been told by multiple sources that there's no way Rich Hill would ever be sent to Iowa. But if he doesn't start pitching better, starting today, I'd think they'd have to at least consider doing that, to get him straightened out. He gave the Pirates three hits and four walks eight days ago in Pittsburgh in a game the Cubs came back and won 7-3.

The Cubs have beaten up on Ian Snell pretty good in his career -- they're 4-1 against him and he's got an ugly 6.31 ERA vs. the Cubs. Ryan Theriot is 4-for-11 (1 double, 1 triple) vs. Snell and Aramis Ramirez is 7-for-20 (4 doubles) against him. I'd hope that Lou might give Felix Pie a start today against a RHP he can probably hit. (Pie has never faced Snell, however.)

Today's game is on WGN -- again, no Pittsburgh TV. For more see today's MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Discuss amongst yourselves.