The Inside Pitch - The Chicago Cubs

The Cubs defeated the Cardinals yesterday 5-1. Today, we take an inside look at the Chicago Cubs.

INSIDE PITCH
   With Mark Prior and Kerry Wood opening the season on the disabled
list for the second consecutive year, manager Dusty Baker was asked if he
felt down on his luck.
   "I never look at luck," Baker said. "I figure if you have bad luck,
it's not going to last forever and you are due for some great luck.
   "I wish I had them. I'm not going to say I don't. I certainly wish I
had them. But if you keep wishing on what you don't have, all you have
is a wish. You have to deal with what you have in front of you."
   Prior and Wood are in Arizona rehabbing and making progress.
   Prior threw off the hill Friday for the first time since March 12
and could be back in May. Wood has been facing live hitters and could be
ready for a minor league rehab assignment in a week or two.
   REPLAY: The kids are all right. Cubs left fielder Matt Murton, 24,
and shortstop Ronny Cedeno, 23, continued to shine for the Cubs as they
improved to 2-1 with a 5-1 home-opening victory over St. Louis at
Wrigley Field on Friday.
   Cedeno stayed hot at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a triple and
double to raise his average to .500. And while Murton was held hitless, he
made a catch in windy left field off a Jim Edmonds fly and gunned a
throw to first base to double up Juan Encarnacion.

NOTES, QUOTES
   --RHP Greg Maddux, who lost his first two season debuts the past two
years since since returning to the Cubs, used the 25 mph wind blowing
in to his advantage as he allowed one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings
in the Cubs' 5-1 victory over St. Louis on Friday. Maddux challenged
the Cardinals hitters, and some of their more impressive clouts resulted
in harmless outs. "Some of them would have gone out on a normal day,"
Maddux admitted.
   --RHP Bobby Howry threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis on
Friday and struck out the side in the eighth inning. The Cubs picked up
Howry and LHP Scott Eyre during the offseason to shore up the
setup-relief situation, and in the early portion of the season the two have
responded.
   --SS Ronny Cedeno put a rough spring training behind him and has
come of the regular season gates roaring. He was hitting .500 through
three games and had a triple and double against St. Louis on Friday. 
   --RHP Carlos Zambrano gave up five walks in 4 2/3 innings on Opening
Day, and although part of the reason might have been that the cold
weather affected some of his pitches, manager Dusty Baker said Zambrano
could have had too much adrenalin because it was Opening Day. Zambrano
faces St. Louis on Saturday.
   --2B Todd Walker was on the bench during Friday's home opener
against St. Louis because manager Dusty Baker wanted a better defensive
player at second base with groundball pitcher Greg Maddux was on the hill.
Baker chose Neifi Perez for the job. "My attitude hasn't changed," said
Walker, who started the first two games. "It's going to take all 25
guys on this team to get this thing done. You don't want anyone on the
bench getting stale. I feel pretty blessed to have played the first two
games."
  

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- Players who showed up at Great American Ball
Park on the off day April 4 for a voluntary workout.
  

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I said, 'Hey, how are you doing, my name is Todd
Walker. And he said, 'Hey, Tom, how are you?' I guess I didn't make too
good of an impression." -- Cubs second baseman Todd Walker on meeting
President Bush before the April 3 season opener in Cincinnati.

ROSTER REPORT
   ROTATION:
   1. RHP Carlos Zambrano
   2. LHP Glendon Rusch
   3. RHP Greg Maddux
   4. LHP Sean Marshall
   5. RHP Jerome Williams
   Because of three off days in the first two weeks, The Cubs won't
need a fifth starter until April 15. Williams figured to be the fourth man
but rookie Sean Marshall emerged as the No. 4 starter and the more
experienced Williams will do some long relief work until the fifth starter
is needed.
   BULLPEN:
   RHP Ryan Dempster (closer)
   RHP Bobby Howry
   LHP Scott Eyre
   RHP Scott Williamson
   LHP Will Ohman
   RHP Michael Wuertz
   The Cubs lost 20 games last year when either tied or leading heading
into the seventh inning, and they hope they solved that problem by
picking up two of the best setup men in the game in Howry and Eyre. The big
question still looming is whether Ryan Dempster (33 saves in his first
year as closer) is more than a one-year wonder.
   LINEUP:
   1. CF Juan Pierre
   2. 2B Todd Walker
   3. 1B Derrek Lee
   4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
   5. RF Jacque Jones
   6. LF Matt Murton
   7. C Michael Barrett
   8. SS Ronny Cedeno
   Manager Dusty Baker said he will use matchups to determine if
Walker, Jerry Hairston or Neifi Perez gets the start at second base.
   RESERVES:
   C Henry Blanco
   INF Neifi Perez
   2B/OF Jerry Hairston
   OF John Mabry
   OF Angel Pagan
   INF/OF Freddie Bynum
  

It's a solid but not spectacular bench. Pagan, who never made a
major league appearance in six years in the New York Mets organization,
showed power and speed and grabbed one of the last spots on the roster.
But will the spotty amount of playing time on the bench retard the
24-year-old's progress?
  

ROOKIE WATCH: SS Ronny Cedeno and LF Matt Murton barely went over
the service time qualification last year and are not eligible for Rookie
of the Year honors. LHP Shawn Marshall not only beat out three other
rookies for the fifth spot in the rotation, he was bumped up to fourth,
leapfrogging over the more experienced Jerome Williams.
  

MEDICAL WATCH: Fans may want to enter a pool on which starting
pitcher returns to the mound first. RHP Kerry Wood (shoulder and knee
surgery) hopes to be back by late April. RHP Wade Miller (shoulder surgery)
should be back in May. And there is no telling yet when RHP Mark Prior
(strained shoulder) is scheduled back.


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