This is the first of four split-squad days for the Cubs this spring, which will allow a lot more pitchers to see some action (and maybe, just maybe, we can see Max Ramirez get some catching time). The other three split-squad days are March 12 and 13 (when half the team heads to Vegas) and March 15, with one game vs. the Athletics at Phoenix Muni and another against the Rockies in Mesa.
If you can stand one more comment on the skirmish between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez the other day, there was a similar incident during spring training in 1984 that I did not remember. It was recalled by David Kaplan and Fred Mitchell in the Tribune today:
Last week's dugout dust-up between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez was mere child's play compared to the 1984 light-heavyweight bout between outfielder Mel Hall and pitcher Dick Ruthven in Yuma, Ariz.
The Cubs were in the midst of a franchise-worst 11-game exhibition losing streak when first-year manager Jim Frey watched Hall and Ruthven duking it out during batting practice near second base. At that point, about a dozen more Cubs players piled on top of the two combatants, trying to break up the melee.
Frey then ordered the entire team to sit down in the outfield for a meeting before the scheduled game against the Padres.
The article goes on to quote Frey, who will be 80 in May, on what he did to quell that problem. He concluded by saying:
"What effect did my talk have on the team? I have absolutely no idea," Frey said. "I just tried to set the tone."
Which is what Mike Quade tried to do, and I believe, succeeded. Not long after that, the Cubs made the trade that brought Bob Dernier and Gary Matthews to Chicago, and Hall, of course, was traded to the Indians for Rick Sutcliffe in June. That was one of the worst spring trainings the Cubs have ever had. This team will be just fine. Also, if I'm not mistaken, that 1984 spring losing streak eventually reached 13 games.
Today, Ryan Dempster will start against the Dodgers and Todd Wellemeyer against the Reds. Casey Coleman, Trey McNutt, Scott Rice and Kyle Smit should see action vs. the Reds, and Carlos Marmol, Thomas Diamond, Marcos Mateo and Jeff Stevens are expected to throw in the TV game against the Dodgers. Chad Billingsley will start for the Dodgers; after that we'll see Ramon Troncoso and Scott Elbert, among others. Johnny Cueto gets the nod for the Reds; he'll be followed by Reds closer Francisco Cordero, Daniel Ray Herrera and Jared Burton. Complete lineups after the jump.
Cubs lineup vs. Reds:
Reds lineup vs. Cubs:DeWitt 2B Castro SS Colvin DH Soriano LF Pena 1B Smith 3B Jackson CF Hill C Adduci RF
Renteria 2B Janish SS Lewis LF Francisco 3B Alonso 1B Heisey RF Hernandez C Sappelt CF Mesoraco DH
Cubs lineup vs. Dodgers:
Fukudome RF Johnson LF Byrd CF Ramirez 3B LaHair 1B Soto C Baker 2B Barney SS Dempster P
Dodgers lineup vs Cubs:
Trayvon Robinson CF Tony Gwynn LF Jay Gibbons DH Dioner Navarro C Xavier Paul RF Ivan DeJesus 2B Russ Mitchell LF Aaron Miles 3B Juan Castro SS
Yes, that's Cubs coach Ivan DeJesus' son, as well as the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. And... Aaron Miles at 3B?
Here's all the media information for today.
MLB.com Gameday for Cubs/Reds
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today. The game vs. the Dodgers is on WGN-TV and WGN radio. Pat Hughes has the weekend off; Dave Eanet will handle the call on WGN with Keith Moreland. The game vs. the Reds is available via the Reds flagship, WLW. But that means you have to listen to the Brennamans.
There will be an overflow thread posting at 3:30 p.m. CST (one thread for both games). As usual, the overflow thread will NOT post on the front page but will be in the "Recent Stories In Game Threads" box on the right sidebar. If you need an extra overflow thread beyond that one, post it in the FanShot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.