MESA, Ariz. _ Mark DeRosa stole the show today as the Indians beat the Cubs 7-5 before 13,097 at HoHoKam. Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly swore he wasn't grooving pitches and that he'd get back at DeRosa during the teams' interleague series June 19-21 at Wrigley.
"He definitely had fun today," Lilly said. "I'm going to make sure that when we play them that he has a miserable time in Chicago."
Ted said it all with a smile. Speaking of smiling, it was all smiles today for DeRosa and Kerry Wood, who faced the Cubs for the first time since their departures. DeRosa said he had no idea where a report came from that said he and Lou Piniella didn't see eye to eye.
"I don't understand where that came from or how the guy (a reporter) could've derived that," DeRo said. "I don't know what he was trying to do. There was no anger there. Me and Lou had a great relationship. He was always good to me."
Ditto, DeRo said, of his relationship with GM Jim Hendry.
"Me and Jim had a great relationship the two years I was there," DeRo said. "I know the phone call when he traded me wasn't an easy one. I was kind of caught off-guard by it myself. But at the same time, I respected it and moved on."
Of course, we've dubbed DeRo here THE MOST POPULAR CUB EVER.
"You know what, Im excited about being here and I want this team to know I'll do everything in my power to play well for them," he said of the Indians. "But there definitely is some feelings there (in Chicago). I feel like I did my job. I enjoyed my time in Chicago. My family really loved the city. I loved playing at Wrigley in front of those fans, so when I first got that phone call, I was upset about it. But at the same time, I try and look at the positive of a good team (Cleveland), one that was one win away from the World Series two years ago, wanting me and having a spot for me to play every day, so in that term I was excited."
On other stuff, the Cubs appear to be getting some trade feelers on reliever Chad Gaudin and maybe even Angel Guzman, but Gaudin didn't help himself today, by giving up 3 runs in 2 innings. He has a 10.54 ERA.
"He's not pitching aggressively," Lou said. "He's getting behind on the hitters. Larry's (pitching coach Rothschild) taken him to the back field a few times and worked with him on staying on top of the ball, and he gets out there and he works under it, and the ball flattens out a little bit, and you can see the results."
Good luck trading him. But Rule 5 guy David Patton (0.84 ERA) is making his case to stick. He went 1-2-3 today with 2 strikeouts.
"He's not stumbling," Lou said. "He keeps throwing strikes. He's showing a good curveball. Look, he's pitching like he wants a job. I don't know exactly what's going to happen. But I can tell you this, that the kid's hungry and he's looking for a major-league job. Not only from our club, but I'm sure he's impressing other people sitting in the stands, too. We'll see what happens with that situation on Tuesday or Wednesday. But he's made it very difficult. Good for him."
D-Lee fouled a ball off his leg today. He came out for a pinch runner, but not because of that. Lou says the right quad is still bothering Lee.
"We're getting close to the season," Lou said. "We haven't asked our players to play back to back too many times. We haven't asked them to play nine innings. So is it getting to be a concern? We'd like to see it alleviate itself."
Lou said he'd talk with trainer Mark O'Neal to see if having D-Lee rest is the answer.
"But that means that he won't be getting many at-bats between now and Opening Day," Lou said. "So I guess there's a fine balance there somehow."