A reminder that Boys of Spring has a vote going on for fans’ favorite Chicago Cubs blog, and there are a number of great choices. Check it out, and vote how your heart tells you…

  • Geovany Soto continues to recover from a “minor” groin strain, which manager Dale Sveum is downplaying. “It’ll be several days until he’s in games,” Sveum said. “He’ll take some swings, but I wouldn’t expect him to be in playing shape for several days. It’s not that big of a deal, just a very minor thing. But this time of spring you don’t want to mess with that.” It’s impossible not to be nervous, but, yeah, this time of year, it’s commonplace to give guys extra rest. You’d be crazy not to.
  • Presumed third starter Paul Maholm has been under the weather with the flu. I’m not sure how he’s expecting to win the bunt tournament now.
  • Speaking of which, another chunk of the first round of the Cubs Bunt Tourney was played yesterday, with Joe Mather, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells and Andy Sonnanstine winning, and Edgar Gonzalez, Bobby Scales, Jason Jaramillo, Matt Tolbert, Esmailin Caridad, James Russell, Chris Volstad and Manny Corpas losing. The first round could be completed today (featuring Kerry Wood versus Dale Sveum), but the tournament will extend into mid-March.
  • Dale Sveum says Alfonso Soriano is looking good and “young” in practices so far, which can only be a positive sign. If Soriano stays healthy, he can still hit a bit. Even in last year’s down year, Soriano was still worth about 1.3 WAR. Just one year earlier? He was worth 3.1 WAR, or about how much Matt Garza has been worth in his average season. Comparisons like that are imperfect, but it’s something to remember.
  • Fluff on Tony Campana and his valuable speed.
  • Another set of MLBullets over at BCB, which focus heavily on the Ryan Zimmerman extension.
  • Ian Stewart talks about coming to the Chicago Cubs (CSN Chicago):

  • Shawn

    Of all the new Cubs I am most intrigued by Stewart. He was the #4 prospect in all of baseball in 2005 so the potential is there. I don’t look for him to hit .300 but he could bring some much needed power 25-30 HR if he stays healthy.

    • Kyle

      That’s an awfully lofty HR total for a guy who hasn’t hit a HR in his last 54 major league games.

      • SirCub

        Took you long enough.

      • CubFan Paul

        What about your boy Stewart batting 2nd behind dejesus & in front of Castro. He can bunt apparently.

        1. RF Dejesus 2. 3B Stewart 3. SS Castro 4. 1B LaHair

        After that it all goes to hell. If the LH Cardenas beats out Barney (he will) that’ll help the lineup options ..but who protects LaHair? Soto? A young ‘lookin’ soriano? ByrdMan?

      • Shawn

        I don’t think 25 is out of the question – he did that a couple of seasons ago. With Stewart it will come down to health and plate-discipline. 30 may be a bit of a stretch but I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility

      • ferrets_bueller

        Ugh. Potential is there. I still don’t understand you hate of Stewart.

  • gratefulled

    I think 20-25 is a much more realistic goal for Stewart. Solid defense, exerted effort, and a positive role model out of the third base position is much more important to this team.

    I’ve been against Soriano since his first year with the team, but am seriously pulling for the guy this season. I’ve always held his contract against him, but now realize its not his fault Hendry used to spend money faster than a politician running for president. With Zambrano and Ramirez out of the locker room I can already see a change in his overall demeanor; which usually results in a stronger season.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Realistically, we could do much worse in LF than a guy who hits .260 with 25 homers. Now, his OBP is dreadful but he does give us some pop in a lineup that doesn’t have much. If he was making $4M a year everyone would be happy to have a veteran presence on a young team.

      • SirCub

        It is a difficult thing for fans to do, but at this point you have to look at his contract as a sunk cost, and just appreciate the product on the field.

    • Dave

      Zambrano yes, but I think people are greatly exaggerating Rameriz being a negative influence in the locker room.

  • OlderStyle

    Not sure what “young” means in that context? more pep, less wrinkles, less facial hair?
    Whatever it means, I hope it’s a sign of good things to come for Soriano. Is it too hopeful to think a rejuvenated AS could have suitors come a callin’ in July? Hehe, my eternal Cubs optimism is showing through.

  • TonyP

    Dude you are crushing the poll.  323 vote lead!!!!

  • rbreeze

    Just logged my vote.  The total is up to 504 votes for BN. 

    It is what it is with Soriano.  We are stuck with him for 3 more years unless he gets hurt.  I don’t wish that on anybody.  But Hendry was given the bank to spend and he did.  Soriano is a likeable guy.  If he could just stay in shape year around maybe he could be a reliable hitter for us.  He seems to miss a month or more every year due to injury.

  • JR Cubs

    If (and it’s a big if) Stewart and Lahair can some how be really good this year, the Cubs might just shock the world and be decent!

  • MichCubFan

    With Stewart and his “change of scenery” the big thing is that he is working with a new coaching staff and a new front office. Theo has had a track record of getting guys swing quieted down, and that could do a lot of good for Stewart. He is already patient, he just needs to strike out less and make a little better contact. I don’t think that is something that is to hard for him to adjust. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a turn around season for Stewart this year. He just has to stay healthy.