Sorry for the three-day delay with posts, there is just very little going on. With that in mind, I will try to squeeze out whatever stories are happening and give you some updates on the Cubs.
Here are a few stories that have happened over the past few days.
Aramis Ramirez Returns to the Diamond
Ramirez has missed some time this spring because of a sore right tricep, but he returned on Tuesday against the Royals as a DH and went 2-3 with an RBI. He hasn’t played since March 13, but he looked like he hadn’t missed any time in his three at-bats.
Lou Piniella wanted to get Ramirez 30 at-bats before the season started, but Ramirez doesn’t think that’s necessary.
“I don’t need 30 at-bats,” Ramirez said. “Five more and I’ll be ready to go. I haven’t played in 11 days, 10 days, and I felt pretty good today. I don’t need that many at-bats.”
Although Ramirez missed significant time last season, this injury doesn’t appear to be linked to that one, and there shouldn’t be any cause to worry about Ramirez having injury trouble this season too.
Ted Lilly Far Ahead of Schedule
Piniella originally expected Lilly to be back by May 1 when he first hurt himself, but with the way that he has been progressing, he is now expected to be back well before then. This would be big for the Cubs starting rotation, as Lilly has had some of the best years of his career with the Cubs.
Although he isn’t going to be making a Cactus League start as originally planned, he will be pitching in the minors this weekend. He is expected to return about halfway through April now.
Tim Kurkjian Gives the Cubs a Legit Chance for the Playoffs
Although all of the talk in the NL Central has gone to the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols, the Cubs aren’t looking to just roll over and concede the division, and Kurkjian says that they do have a shot.
He cites Carlos Zambrano’s new health, stability at closer with Carlos Marmol, Ted Lilly returning early, Rudy Jaramillo’s impact on the offense, and Kosuke Fukudome making the switch to right field as reasons why the Cubs should be optimistic for the season.
These are all great reasons why the Cubs, despite making very few changes to their lineup, should be feeling a lot better this season than they did last season.
Greg Maddux Gets Rave Reviews from Jim Hendry
Although Jaramillo will be helping the offense, Maddux will be working with the pitchers in some capacity, as he works with different people throughout the Cubs organization to find a job that he would be able to do in the future.
According to ESPN, Maddux has worked with Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, and Sean Marshall this spring, which could have a big impact this season, as these are four of the pitchers that the Cubs need to step up this season, along with Carlos Marmol.
If Maddux’s impact on the team is as big as Hendry thinks it is, then the Cubs could see big improvements from their pitching staff.
I’m Joe W.