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In case the earlier mention of familial obligations wasn’t enough for you, I’m on daddy duty most of the day today, as The Wife is out getting educated. So, you might not see much more of me around today after these Bullets, until later today. I know, your Saturday morning is ruined. Go watch cartoons or ‘Saved by the Bell.’

  • The Cubs have flipped Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad in the rotation, allowing Volstad to go on normal rest, and Samardzija to get an extra day of rest. The Cubs have said they’re going to try and monitor Samardzija’s starts and watch his pitch counts (he was cruising last time out when he was removed after 90 pitches), so I doubt there’s anything to be worried about here. Volstad will now pitch the finale in the Phillies series.
  • Dale Sveum says we can expect to continue seeing Tony Campana out in center field. For now, Campana is expected to get about 80% of the starts out there, though he might get a day off today.
  • Ryan Dempster is fully healthy, and ready to return from quad soreness for his next start on Thursday. Randy Wells will go today, and then we’ll just have to see what happens when Dempster returns. Kerry Wood, on the other hand, is taking longer to come back from shoulder fatigue. Although eligible to return this weekend, the Cubs aren’t even expecting him back until late in the week at the earliest. He’ll throw a simulated game on Monday, and then possibly again on Thursday, assuming the first goes well. It’s also possible he could return on Thursday, which would make for a whole mess of roster moves.
  • Phillies manager Charlie Manuel on Paul Maholm’s success last night: “Once [Maholm] got out of the first-inning jam, he really got going. He changed speeds well. He was throwing a little slider to the right-handers and getting to them. Once he got ahead, he threw some high fastballs and got away with it. We didn’t do [anything] with it and chased some. Actually, that’s kind of how we’ve been on left-handers so far this year.” Sound familiar? I could hear Mike Quade, Lou Piniella, and Dusty Baker saying the same thing about any soft-tossing lefty over the past decade.
  • Although the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex in Mesa, Arizona will require the removal of some historic trees, they aren’t just being ripped out of the ground to die. There’s going to be a whole process for removing, preserving, and relocating them. Nice.
  • I’ll have more on this soon, but you should think about checking out the Cubs’ “Social Media Night” on May 16. Buying a ticket to the game gets you access to a social media panel before the game (I’m not on the panel, but I’ll be in attendance), a shirt, a hot dog voucher, a copy of Vine Line, and social media cards (some of which are autographed by Cubs players). The tickets are bleacher tickets (you have to buy them through that page if you want the deal), and I’ll be there in the bleachers, too. It’s a Wednesday night game against the Phillies. I’m just getting it on your radar.
  • MaxM1908

    Count me in for May 16 (assuming work doesn’t interfere). I’ll start working on clever insults for Hunter Pence.

    • hansman1982

      you mean Igor Pence. God how I loathe his posture and monkey-esque running style.

    • ferrets_bueller

      You could always borrow from Brenly, and ask what cattle rustler stole his calves.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nice.

  • SirCub

    I think it would be a great strategy to try to amass all of the soft-tossing lefties in the league, just so the Cubs’ don’t have to face them any more.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Sounds good to me SirCub. Jamie Moyer back to us for Geo Soto.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    1) Its seem like everytime I say something on this site, people see. To think I’m out of my mind. A Month ago I said Campana should start in Center and was told once again how crazy I was. Wow. “Dale Sveum says we can expect to continue seeing Tony Campana out in center field. For now, Campana is expected to get about 80% of the starts out there” That’s another one I got right. I think that’s three I’ve gotten right so far.

    • ferrets_bueller

      There is a difference between “should” and “will.” Will he start in center? Yes.
      Should he start in center? No. Regardless of whether or not his bat/baserunning are good enough to get him into a good major league lineup, he is not in any way, shape, or form even an average CF. He can play one position and one position only, and that is LF. And even then, he’d be among the worst half of defensive LFs.

  • djriz

    I hope Brett is right, but I get VERY, VERY nervous whenever routines are changed for no reason. Is there something wrong with Shark? Pulling him at 90 pitches. Pushing a start back a day. Could be pitch count, could be changing rotation or match-ups….or it could be akin to what went on with Kerry is spring training.

    Man, I hope I’m wrong.

    • cubs1967

      You have to remember Smardz’s arm is not stretched out from being a RP last year; only about 80 IP; so the most he’ll throw this year will be around 150-170 IP; so skipping him prolongs how far into the season he can go before they have to shut him down. It’s not good to have a huge increase 1 year after pitching below 100 IP the year before.
      That’s why Wells is important this year; he’s gonna get his starts from Volstad doing poorly and Smardz on pitch limits.

  • calicubsfan007

    Should we be concerned about the Cubs giving Smardz extra rest this early in the season? Maybe it’s because I am used to guys like Baker who seemed to believe that pitchers are meant to be used beyond their limit. Should I be worried?

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