MESA, Ariz. _ If promptness means anything, the Cubs should be all right. Pitchers and catchers don't offcially report for spring training until tomorrow, but already, the two locker rooms at Fitch Park are teeming with players, most of whom had already worked out by the time I got there late this morning.
Among the most impressive looking, from an in-shape standpoint, were catcher Geovany Soto and pitcher Angel Guzman. Soto, who has had weight issues in past springs, said he was "228-230" pounds. "I feel good, just trying to be in the best shape I can to help myself and the team, too," he said.
Guzman, who has battled injuries the past five or so years, looks more muscled this year. We'll see if it helps; there's a job in the bullpen to be won, and Guzman is out of minor-league options.
Among the others I spotted were Jeff Samardzija, Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin, Randy Wells and Koyie Hill, who was indeed able to give a firm handshake with his mangled right hand. Hill showed up last year recovering from a horrific encounter with a power saw. During the regular season, he talked of having some of his fingers cut off if need be. But all five digits are safely in place, even if they don't all bend the right way or at the same time. Hill will battle it out with Paul Bako for the backup job to Soto.
Rich Harden has been in and out the last couple days, I'm told, after a winter full of workouts down here. We'll see how that cranky shoulder holds up and how much "POP" we hear on the fastball when pitchers start throwing from the bullpen mounds in a couple days.
Lou stopped in today, as did GM Jim Hendry. Both will meet the media tomorrow morning.
We'll blog all day if we have to.