Baseball’s arbitration hearings are scheduled through Saturday, and the Cubs have confirmed that the plan, at present, is for the team and Ryan Theriot to arbitrate on Friday or Saturday of this week. Let the good times roll.

[General Manager Jim] Hendry will travel to Tampa, Fla., on Thursday for the hearing, which will be either Friday or Saturday. The shortstop is asking for $3.4 million while the Cubs have countered at $2.6 million. Arbitration hearings are scheduled through Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since Mark Grace in 1993.

“A lot of times things are settled late, other times they’re not,” Hendry said. “We haven’t been [to a hearing], obviously, in the nine years I’ve been dealing with arbitration either as the assistant general manager or the general manager. It’ll be a first-time experience for us. It’s part of the business.”

Hendry has settled 36 straight arbitration cases since taking over.

“I think that speaks for itself,” Hendry said Wednesday. “We always try to do the right thing, and sometimes you can’t avoid the process.”

During the hearing, the Cubs have to explain why Theriot isn’t worth the money he’s asking for. Are the Cubs worried about any bad feelings if Theriot loses his case?

“No — I’ve known Ryan since his LSU days,” Hendry said. “He’ll be an important part of the club this year. We’ll get through it. Ryan Theriot will be playing on Opening Day here, and we need him to play well.”

That’s the most important thing: whatever happens, let’s hope Theriot comes out of it without any feelings that affect his play.