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The Cubs are going to have a couple of roster decisions to make today, as both Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood are expected to be activated from the disabled list. I don’t think the Cubs are going to get too creative with the moves – they’ll probably just send Randy Wells back to Iowa, and do something like DL Scott Maine or send him to Iowa, too.

  • I told you Jeff Samardzija’s performance last night was sublime, you all undoubtedly agreed, and we weren’t the only one who saw it that way. “That’s the best we’ve seen probably this year against us,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters. “Usually he doesn’t have that kind of command and control. Our reports say he’s throwing the ball good, and you could see he was at 95-98 [mph], and when he left, he was throwing 95-96. He threw the ball great against us. It wasn’t us tonight; it was him.” Kind words. Unrelatedly, I want to marry that picture of Dusty there. It is fantastic.
  • Samardzija, who passed on the credit to his teammates, offers his thoughts on the season (and unintentionally captures what it is to be a Cubs fan): “We didn’t have a team meeting to say this is a rebuilding year. We just kind of skipped that altogether. We want to win games. Every day you get a new chance to win a game. We might have to do it a different way than say the Yankees or somebody but pitching and defense goes a long way.”
  • Ian Stewart, who homered last night, is staying positive despite his rough numbers to start the year: “I feel like out of four at-bats, I’m putting together two, sometimes three quality at-bats a game almost, and if I just keep hitting like that, I think eventually those are going to fall …. It’s a slow start when you look at the numbers on paper but … I’ve been hitting balls hard, kind of ‘at ‘em’ balls,” he said. “I feel if I keep getting my work in with Rudy [Jaramillo, hitting coach] and Dale and keep being aggressive, those will turn into extra-base hits.”
  • Speaking of Stewart, here’s a quote from ESPNChicago, which will probably be edited soon. “I take a lot of pride in my defense so for me making a god pay in the field can sometimes top having a base hit,” Stewart said. Ian Stewart: making gods pay since 2012. Do something, Zeus. Do something.
  • The Cubs, as is often the case, are the top road draw so far on the season. We’re everywhere, Cubs fans.
  • Tony Campana wants to steal 100 bases, and thinks he could do it. “I’ve told people before that if I played every day and did what I hope I could do at the plate, I could give myself a chance to get close to 100,” he said, according to Paul Sullivan. “Once you get past a certain number, people are going to really pay more attention to you. But I’d like to think I could come close.” Well, yeah – if did “what you hope you could do at the plate,” then I guarantee you could steal 100, because you’d be on base at a .400 clip.
  • Sullivan has a solid mailbag this week, touching on a number of rumor-ish topics. Of note, Sullivan thinks Ryan Dempster is not a trade candidate, and, instead, is more likely to be a guy who is re-signed on a team-friendly deal. I’d be OK with either route, but I do hope that, if Dempster wants a chance to pitch for a contender this year (assuming it isn’t the Cubs), the Cubs give him that chance.
  • Bryan LaHair has now reached base in 20 straight games, the longest such streak for a Cubs first baseman since Derrek Lee reached base 21 straight times in 2009.
  • As noted in this morning’s Minor League Daily, Frank Batista was the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the month for April, and Anthony Rizzo (duh) took home the player of the month honor.
  • The Red Sox signed Mark Prior to a minor league deal yesterday, which, like, whatever, good luck. But every single Cubs-related publication had a story about it immediately after the signing. I’m not sure I get it. Yes, Prior came up with the Cubs, and, yes, he was very good for a couple years. But he hasn’t been with the Cubs in over six years, and hasn’t pitched meaningfully for the Cubs in over seven. He hasn’t even pitched in the big leagues since 2006, and has unsuccessful minor league/comeback attempts with the Padres, Rangers, and Yankees. The signing is worth a Bullet mention, but a story? I just don’t see it, unless you’re going to do a full-on human interest piece about his years trying to get back. The signing, itself, is a blip.
  • Hawkeye

    Dusty seems to be very impressed with Samardzija. Luckily for Jeff, Dusty isn’t in Chicago any more. After a good outing like last night, Dusty would be looking to line up the rotation so Samardzija could pitch both sides of the day/night double header make up game when it rolls around.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha.

  • hansman1982

    “Speaking of Stewart, here’s a quote from ESPNChicago, which will probably be edited soon. “I take a lot of pride in my defense so for me making a god pay in the field can sometimes top having a base hit,” Stewart said. Ian Stewart: making gods pay since 2012. Do something, Zeus. Do something”

    I wonder how upset this made DeJesus…Thou shalt not speak ill of my daddy!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dr. Jesus.

  • B_Scwared

    Speaking of DeJesus.  Any chance he’s a trade candidate this year even though he signed a 2 year deal?  When Rizzo comes up Lahair will be in left, Jackson should be up, and then you have Lil’ Campana.  I know its early on Campana but I do love watching him freak out pitchers when he’s on base and we know DeJesus is not in the long range plan.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s absolutely a candidate.

    • Beer Baron

      I have to assume one of the main reasons they signed DeJesus (and Maholm for that matter) in a “rebuilding year” instead of going with cheaper, younger guys who are already on the roster was for the possibility of a trade. If he started the year hot they could flip him for some prospects. Unfortunately right now both he is having a very mediocre (at best) season so the trade market will be pretty light – although Maholm could fetch a little something if he continues with the form he’s had his past couple of starts.

  • ISU Birds

    Can Rizzo play outfield because putting LaHair in left field sounds like a nightmare to me. Campana would have to play 2/3 of the outfield.

    • hansman1982

      Why would you have a sub-par defender at 2 positions and potentially delay, or even throw off, the development of Rizzo?

      • ISU Birds

        I’m afraid LaHair would give up a lot of hits. Slow.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Rizzo isn’t much faster.

          LaHair played a fair amount of left for Iowa last year, and at the time he seemed to do OK.  I don’t think he’d be the worst left fielder in the league, and whatever extra hits he did give up would be more than offset by his bat (so long as he kept hitting).

          • Dougy D

            He’s got to be better than Soriano in left (even though Soriano has looked better this year, like he is trying.)

    • drew

      Campana doesnt play 1/3 of the outfield all that well, so that would be scary

      • hansman1982

        Well, odds are that when Rizzo is up here it will be Jackson manning CF who provides good defense, so at least 2/3rds of our outfield will be properly defended.

    • art

      Soriano is a nightmare in LF along with Kingman, Sauer, Dunn, etc. IMO he’d be better than Soriano. 1. he says he’s played OF all his life, 2. he’s not afraid of the wall.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        I’d say Soriano has played a heck of a LF this year so far.
        Far from nightmarish.

        • hardtop

          i dont know about “heck of” (compared to himself maybe)
          “far from nightmarish”? yes. adequate and infrequently surprising. if he’d start hitting for even a fraction of his normal power, id almost support him being in the lineup.

  • Spencer

    I think Maine has been pretty good in his limited opportunities this year. You know who hasn’t been good this year in several opportunities? Chris Volstad. Unfortunately our schedule doesn’t allow for a four man rotation. Let’s give someone from AAA a chance, eh?

    *Cue the “Volstad has been extremely unlucky since last July and that’s why he hasn’t won a game since then” chants now*

    • Spencer

      Just announced – Wells and Maine to AAA

      • Cedlandrum

        I think maine to AAA is a shame. He has pitched well. this whole keeping Castillo on the roster is a complete waste of time and space. Make a trade for him or send him back. I don’t think his upside is greater then Alberto Cabrera and you could at least option him when he was struggling.

        • Spencer

          agreed. he hasn’t even pitched since 4/20. and has yet to pitch in a game the Cubs have won.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Interesting comparison. And Cabrera’s only a few months older than Castillo.

          • Cedlandrum

            Better stuff too.

    • hansman1982

      His last start wasn’t bad. All 4 of the runs that were given up were due to singles hit through or in the infield. Also, after throwing 30 pitches in that inning he went on to throwing 6 innings with under 100 pitches. He has pitched better than his ERA suggests.

  • WGNstatic

    Ahhh Mark Prior.

    You fell into the trap Brett. Why would we talk about him? Well, ironically you dedicated more words to him than any other bullet. Note, I am not calling you out, but simply acknowledging the reality that we can’t look away.

    Mark Prior represented a tremendous amount of hope. He helped take us nearer the summit than we had been in most of our lifetimes… then he helped us all jump into the deep crevasse below. The very name Mark Prior stirs emotions in us, as does that image of Dusty Baker. Face it, if Mike Matheny had made the same quote about the Shark you would have accompanied this story with a shot of our favorite long-locked starter… not the opposing manager.

    We don’t know yet how to reconcile the good memories we have of that nearly magical ride with the bitterness of coming up short.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d argue that the vast majority of those words were not about Prior, but about the strange coverage. But I know what you’re saying, and I agree.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Also, part of the reason I would have devoted a Bullet to the Prior thing either way is because it’s a little bit of a “haha, look at the Red Sox” kind of thing. And that’s always allowed. Well, at least for another year or so.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Please don’t speak bad about Volstad, a below average to bad pitcher, who couldn’t win a game if he was spotted three runs pitching for Tennessee. Ok, so he’s not that bad, but he is pretty dismal. Like I said the other night, he caught some bad breaks in that game, but you don’t have bad luck for a half of a season’s worth of starts without catching a break if you have talent. But due to propaganda, I believe, he is pretty much assured a starting role for at least the rest of the season. Out best case scenario, he improves his ERA to 5.80 or so.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    i dont see anything there to edit. you should make that stewarts poster, you know, like sharks ” you killed my father, prepare to die.”

  • FromFenwayPahk

    “The Cubs, as is often the case, are the top road draw so far on the season. We’re everywhere, Cubs fans.”

    Isn’t that what makes this a bleacher “nation”?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Might apply more to the Cubs than any other team.

    • THEOlogical

      You should come down to Atlanta to see the draw the Cubs get. Everytime, it’s at least 50% Cubs fans.

  • Deez

    “Tony Campana wants to steal 100 bases, and thinks he could do it.”

    Did you see Campana’s strike out in the 5th (I think)!? I’ve seen Toddler’s w/ a better approach at the plate. It’s no way he steals 100 bases in any season! He can’t get on base enough (9Ks to 2BBs) to steal 65 + His defense in CF is a liability. Campana is simply a fast change o’ pace guy nothing more, nothing less.

  • Joe

    “I feel if I keep getting my work in with Rudy [Jaramillo, hitting coach] and Dale and keep being aggressive, those will turn into extra-base hits.”

    Wait… a third baseman who works with the hitting coach? Whhaaaaahhhh???

    I miss Aramis’s production, but I sure don’t miss his approach or attitude. Ahhh….

    • Deer

      If only Rudy had some past success working closely with Cub hitters.

  • Joe

    “Sullivan thinks Ryan Dempster is not a trade candidate, and, instead, is more likely to be a guy who is re-signed on a team-friendly deal.”

    Cool! I predicted that, like, yesterday! Ha ha. :)

    • MaxM1908

      I really wouldn’t mind keeping Dempster around as a 4th or 5th starter for another year or two, especially if it’s a team-friendly contract.

      • Joe

        I see more as the official #2, practical 2-3 next year, and then #3 the following. At that point, I think he retires rather than sink lower. I’m not saying Dempster is a proud man, but Garza was clearly the superior pitcher going in to this year, but Demp got the Opening Day start. I think that only happened because it mattered to him, at least a little, and I think (surprisingly) that Garza could give a sh*t about Opening Day. Or it might’ve been Sveum’s call in favor of the vet. Probably a mix of all of it. Anyway, I don’t see Dempster being happy as the #4-5 guy. At that point, IMHO, he takes a trade, goes FA, or retires.

        • MaxM1908

          I’m pushing him down to four assuming an off-season signing of Cole Hamels caliber. I’m thinking Garza, Hamels, Shark, Dempster, McNutt/Maholm/Rusin/whomever wins the 5th spot.

          • B_Scwared

            I could have sworn that Dempster was quoted as saying he would accept a trade if the Cubs felt it was in their best interests because of what they have done for him and his career. 

            He could always resign with the Cubs after the season.

          • Joe

            While I’m on the optimistic fence about Shark, I don’t see him getting a spot above Dempster, out of sheer respect for the man’s veteran status. Not unless Shark becomes/remains a lockdown kind of guy.

      • Coal

        If I’m Dempster any “team-friendly” deal would have to include the stipulation that Carlos Marmol isn’t on the roster.

        • ty

          If I was Dempster I would fly down to his ranch and shoot all his cattle. Of course, that is just me!

        • Joe

          Ha!

  • JulioZuleta

    “Samardzija was so good, I’d start him every game for the rest of the month and try to put together a nice little winning streak” -Dusty Baker

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    Only Strasberg is throwing harder as a starter than Samardza.Some stat guy on the Danny Mac show just stated. That is amazing.I said all winter he was the dark horse and had the potential to be a 1 or 2 starter

    • Andrewmoore4isu

      Verlander is throwing 101mph in the 9th Everytime be pitches. He also throws a 70mph curve

  • THEOlogical

    I say the Cubs trade LaHair to the Astros for Altuve and J.D. Martinez. And LaHair can play the short porch LF for the ‘Stros.

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