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Two More Weeks: Cubs vs. Mariners at Mesa, Sunday 3/22, 3:05 CT

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You've noticed it. The players have noticed it. This spring training not only is longer than usual (39 games, compared to the usual 30-31), but it seems even longer than that.

We all love baseball, but we're aching for real games that matter. Two more weeks; hang in there, two weeks from tomorrow, there will be games that count.

Until then, we must be satisfied with stories like this one about Geovany Soto and Ted Lilly both being behind in their work to get ready for the season:

Lilly is not scheduled to pitch either Sunday or Monday, but is staying with Team USA in case the games go extra innings. Lilly is expected to pitch in a simulated game on Tuesday in Mesa.

"He's another guy who has fallen behind some and hasn't really worked as much as he would here in Spring Training," Piniella said.

Meanwhile, Bruce Miles tells us that Rich Harden may not be ready for what would have been his first scheduled start on April 10:

Harden was scratched Friday because of a stomach bug. He'll pitch at the Cubs' minor-league camp Wednesday, when the rest of the team has an off-day. Manager Lou Piniella said Harden will get "an extended throw" day Monday.

"If he's ready by the time the season starts, he's ready," Piniella said. "If he's not, we've got (Sean) Marshall that'll be ready, and we can throw (Harden) into the fifth-starter's spot and give him more time."

I think I'll head over to Fitch Park and watch that game on Wednesday. And that Lou quote would mean that Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly would face Houston, and Marshall would start the April 10 game in Milwaukee, followed by Zambrano and Dempster, and Lilly would start the home opener on April 13. If the Cubs then wanted to skip Harden's first start, they could continue on with Marshall on April 15 (with the off-day on the 14th) and then onward with the other three.

Today, Z will face the Mariners' Erik Bedard. Derrek Lee is expected back in the starting lineup today. The game is on CSN Chicago, this time with Len & Bob. It's also available at the MLB.com Mediacenter with the Seattle announcers via KIRO, their flagship station.

MLB.com Gameday for the Cubs/Mariners game

Cubs notes: Paul Sullivan posts nine things to worry about regarding the 2009 Cubs, all of which are legitimate and all of which we have discussed here before. As if we don't worry enough already.

MLB notes: Phil Rogers writes that Chris Carpenter is having a great spring and if he keeps that up, the Cardinals will be a force. True, but the key word is "if". Can Carpenter's surgeries hold up? No one knows, yet.

WBC notes: Korea blew out Venezuela last night 10-2, and so they will face the winner of tonight's Japan/USA semifinal in Monday's championship game. Tonight's game is on ESPN at 7 pm CDT. The USA will bat first as the "visiting" team.

MLB.com Gameday for the USA/Japan game

Discuss amongst yourselves.