Hill struggles; World Baseball Classic defects set to return; Walker to Baltimore?
LHP Rich Hill, who could become the team's No. 5 starter if Mark Prior's shoulder injury prevents him from opening the regular season, did not impress in Thursday's game against the Angels. Hill gave up five runs in the first two innings, walking three and hitting another batter. Control (17 walks in 23 big-league innings last year) has been his main problem in his brief time in the majors.
RHP Carlos Zambrano will return to Cubs camp by the weekend after making two appearances for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. The
Venezuelans failed to make it past the second round, and that means the Cubs will have more time to work with Zambrano on their own schedule to get him ready to make the Opening Day start at Cincinnati on April 3.
The Cubs' two top catchers should return to the team this weekend. Henry Blanco, part of Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, and Michael Barrett, who represented the United States, both played for teams that were eliminated in the tournament's second round. They know most of the pitchers on the staff, but they need to get in sync with newcomers Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre.
2B Todd Walker is said to be in a proposed deal with Baltimore for OF Luis Matos, according to a Baltimore Sun report. Walker, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Neifi Perez are locked in a battle for the starting second base spot.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Surgeries endured by Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. He had elbow surgery in 1999, shoulder surgery in 2005 and knee surgery
on March 7.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I said, 'Yeah, I'm Derrek Lee'" -- Cubs second baseman Jerry Hairston on what he told umpires after they asked him if he
knew his name after he was beaned by a pitch in a recent game.