No Slowing Down

Greg Maddux turned 40 on April 14 and isn't pitching like one of baseball's elder statesmen.

Maddux is off to a 2-0 start with a 1.46 ERA and has been one of the Cubs' best starting pitchers early in the season even though in the past couple of years he has struggled in April.

With Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Wade Miller all on the disabled list, it's important that the Cubs have some stability in their rotation and the veteran Maddux has provided that.

"I don't feel any pressure to pitch better because they are not here," Maddux said. "I just want to go out and win."

And as Maddux continues to pick up new teammates, he continues to pick up praise from those who had previously only seen him from afar.

"He's the definition of pitching," new Cubs center fielder Juan Pierre said. "When you talk about pitching, just look at him. He doesn't have tremendous stuff. But he gets it done day in and day out.

"I can tell my grandkids one day that I played with Maddux. Hall of Famer."

Maddux is currently the only right-handed starting pitcher in the majors who is 40 or older.

REPLAY: For the second consecutive game, rookie Sean Marshall's overall numbers were not impressive but the left-handed pitcher enjoyed a dominant stretch.

Marshall gave up four runs on five hits in five-plus innings against Pittsburgh on Friday night and won his first career game, 11-6 at PNC Park. But he opened the game retiring the first nine Pirates he faced. When he made his major league debut on April 9 against St. Louis, he gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings but enjoyed a stretch in which he retired 10 out of 11 batters.


--3B Aramis Ramirez returned to the lineup after missing two games with a left upper hamstring injury. He finished 0-for-3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.

--RHP Jerome Williams will make his first start of the year when the Cubs take on Pittsburgh on Saturday. Because of three off days early in the season, the Cubs have not needed a fifth starter until now. Even though Williams made three relief appearances (totaling five innings), Cubs manager Dusty Baker believes his pitcher will be able to shoulder a load of more than five innings.

--RHP Kerry Wood (shoulder, knee surgeries) will take the next step in his rehab on Saturday when he throws three simulated innings during extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz. The Cubs generally have their pitchers throw two simulated games before heading out to a rehab assignment.

--RHP Mark Prior (shoulder injury) threw 40 pitches (two sets of 20) during a bullpen session in extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz. on Friday. If he feels good after that session, he will ratchet it up to 45 (three sets of 15) on Monday.

--RHP Wade Miller (shoulder surgery) threw 60 pitches (three sets of 20 each) on Friday during a bullpen session at extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz. He should be facing hitters in a batting practice setting soon.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Home runs that Glendon Rusch has given up to Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo in two starts this year. Arroyo said that the last time he homered prior to this year was in high school.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Maybe the ball is on steroids -- I don't know." -- Cubs manager Dusty Baker when asked why there are so many home runs hit in the major leagues early this season.

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