I am in Phoenix, and I’ll be heading to Hohokam Park soon (and hopefully Fitch as well). I am stoked. I am still, at heart, just a Cubs fan.

  • Dale Sveum is expected to make his decision on the third and fourth starters (he’s already announced that Ryan Dempster is number one, Matt Garza number two, and Paul Maholm number five) by Wednesday. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad are expected to win the jobs, with Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez trying to land a job as the long reliever in the bullpen (assuming there isn’t a trade).
  • Speaking of the rotation, Ryan Dempster was honored to be tabbed as the Opening Day starter. “It’s a great honor,” Dempster said. “I hope I can go out there and win the game, but if it would have been [Garza] he is totally deserving of it, too. Him and I pull for each other. We are always looking to get the best out of each other. He was happy for me and if it was the other way I would have been happy for him.” Just win, baby. The order doesn’t really matter to me.

  • As for Samardzija, he was largely unfazed by his very rough outing yesterday against the Rockies. “The ball was up all day,” Samardzija said. “Against this team, they’re pretty free swinging and I’m a power pitcher. If I’m down in the zone, it turns into quick outs. If not, you see a cutter there, it gets fisted out, it gets over second base, things like that. Those balls are down, they’re ground balls and you’re moving on. I need to make a quicker adjustment. It’s just a couple pitches here or there to improve on.”
  • Sveum added that Rafael Dolis is very likely to be in the bullpen, as expected. ”He has had a heck of a Spring,” Sveum said. “It’s tough not to say he is going to be one of the guys. He has too good of stuff and has done to well out of Spring Training.”
  • On the recently-cut duo of Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo, Dale Sveum had only the nicest things to say. “When they get back here, they’re probably not going to leave for a long time,” Sveum said. “They’re that special as players. It’s just a matter of when we’re going to see them again.”

  • On Jackson, Sveum was particularly complimentary. ”He brings so much to the table” Sveum said. ”In my nine years of coaching he is the best young player I’ve seen in a major league camp. He is the full package. The swinging and missing, he has to work on and cutting down strikeouts. He just brings a lot to the table.”
  • Starlin Castro visited with some kids at the Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa this week, and undoubtedly brightened their days.
  • The Eamus Catuli sign and the AC numbers sign, which adorn the Lakeview Baseball Club building across from Wrigley Field, will be taken down while some repairs are done, and it’s possible that only the former will return, given that the latter is little but a sign of futility these days.

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