INDIANAPOLIS _ Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is getting a promotion. He'll move from being the manager at the Cubs' Class AA Tennessee farm club to manager at Class AAA Iowa. The job became open when Iowa manager Bobby Dickerson left for a coordinator's job in the Baltimore Orioles system. Sandberg managed Tennessee into the Southern League playoffs this season after managing at Class A Peoria for two years.
As far as late rumors go, Cubs GM Jim Hendry laughed off a Chicago-based rumor that had the Cubs interested in Padres closer Heath Bell, with possible trade bait being catcher Geovany Soto or shortstop Ryan Theriot. As I blogged this morning, the Cubs like Bell, but he's not on their radar at all because he'll have a big raise coming this fall, as he's arbitration-eligible.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella says he'll keep Alfonso Soriano in the sixth spot in the lineup.
On the South Side, Ozzie says two key players will be Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios. Quentin is Guillen's choice for right field, his natural position, with Rios likely to play center. Ozzie called the team's defense this year very, very, very bad and says that area will improve.
Neither Ozzie nor GM Kenny Williams called the Sox the best team "on paper" in the AL Central, but Ozzie said he likes his starting rotation the best, with Freddy Garcia the choice right now to be the No. 5 starter.
Both Chicago teams deftly danced around inquiries from Japanese media members about free agent Hideki Matsui, the World Series MVP from the Yankees. With the Sox having plenty of DH candidates and Ozzie talking about outfield defense and the Cubs having no place to put Matsui, Chicago won't be his landing place.