Ramirez Bullish about Cubs' Chances

PITTSBURGH – This season marks the 100th anniversary of the last Chicago Cubs World Series title. Will 2008 be the season the North Siders end the drought?

Chicago third baseman Aramis Ramirez is bullish about the Cubs chances this season. One reason for the optimism is the fact that he is healthy.

"I feel pretty good," Ramirez offered. "I feel healthy and hopefully I will stay like that the whole year."

Staying healthy is Ramirez's goal this season. The third baseman is coming off a season in which he hit .310 with 26 homers, 35 doubles, and drove in 101 runs. He was limited to 132 games because of injuries to his right wrist and knee.

"It wasn't any fun last season," Ramirez lamented. "I hurt my knee and I missed up to, I don't know, 30 games? But we still had a good season and we made the playoffs and had a good season."

Many baseball pundits like the Cubs chances this year. Ramirez liked some of the off season moves the club made.

"We made some great moves," he opined. "Acquiring (Kosuke) Fukudome - we needed a right fielder and the front office has done a good job and now we've got to do ours."

With an off day on Tuesday, the Cubs are off to a 4-3 start following a win over the Pirates on Monday. The Cubs squandered a 7-0 lead and needed Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the 12th inning to pull out a 10-8 victory. Ramirez is off to a slow start, hitting .200 with one home run and three RBI, but he isn't looking at numbers or setting goals for himself.

"I actually don't think about that," Ramirez said. "I'm just trying to stay healthy. If I play the game that I'm supposed to play, the numbers will be there and that's the main thing - I've just got to play."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella has talked about unfinished business after last season when the Cubs lost to Arizona in the National League Division Series. The National League Central has several teams that could contend for a division title, but every club has some warts to contend with.

"Everybody has got holes," Ramirez explained. "Nobody is going to have a perfect team. We have them and Milwaukee has them and Houston - everybody has them. You've just got to win games - no matter how you do it just put a ‘W' up there and everything is going to be all right."

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