GLENDALE, Ariz. _ The Cubs are close to announcing that they'll retire uniform No. 31 in honor of pitchers Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux on May 3. That news first popped up at the Cubs convention in January. Now we apparently have a date.
Onto today's business: The Cubs cut nine players today. They optioned pitchers Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens to Class AAA Iowa. Optioned to Class AA Tennessee was pitcher Marcos Mateo. Stevens is the hightly touted prospect the Cubs got from the Indians for Mark DeRosa. Two other pitchers from that trade are in minor-league camp. So for right now, the Cubs have no major-league talent to show for having traded DeRosa.
Nonroster men sent back to minor-league camp were catcher Welington Castillo, infielders Darwin Barney and Luis Rivas and outfielders Doug Deeds and Jason Dubois. The spring roster is down to 45.
This is the Cubs' first look at Camelback Ranch, the new home of the White Sox and Dodgers. They play the Dodgers today. I was here last month covering the Sox. You can see why the Cubs want something better for themselves for spring training. Their facilities in Mesa are nice, but they've grown outdated in some ways in a short time. It seems that even in tough economic times, towns around Arizona are lining up to get teams to come here, and cost seems to be no object.
Heading down to talk to Lou.