MESA, Ariz. _ We're still awaiting the arrivals of Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro to Cubs camp. Today is the reporting date for position players, even though most have been here and working, at least on hitting, for the better part of the past week. There's no concern about the last four; all they have to do is reach the state of Arizona today and be ready for workouts tomorrow.
It'll be hurry-up-and-wait anyway. We've got another gloomy morning of rain here at Fitch Park.
The talk in the clubhouse this morning was about last night's thrilling U.S.-Canada hockey game in the Olympics. Canadian players Ryan Dempster, Chris Robinson and Vince Perkins were holding their heads high, despite Canada's loss.
"It was an awesome game," said Robinson, a catcher out of London, Ontario, and the University of Illinois. Robinson played hockey most of his youth, but he said he was a "backward Canadian" because he played hockey to stay in shape for baseball and not the other way around. Dempster, a huge pucks fan, tipped his cap to the U.S. and goaltender Ryan Miller. He said he was talking with young pitcher Andrew Cashner, a Texan, and that Cashner said he hadn't seen much hockey until last night but now his interest is piqued.
Outfielder Jim Adduci, who hails from south suburban Evergreen Park, was born in Burnaby, British Columbia, when his dad, Jim, was playing for the Milwaukee Brewers' farm team. Young Jim has dual citizenship and said he was pulling for the U.S.
Had a chance to talk baseball with reliever Jeff Stevens this morning, too. He had Greg Maddux standing behind him yesterday in the cage as he threw. He said in the past, he might throw 10 fastballs in a row or 10 sliders in a row. He said Maddux told him, "You don't pitch that way in a game," and to mix it up while he was throwing.
Maddux has been hard at work here, helping pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Also this morning, Maddux was sitting in the clubhouse with catching prospect Steve Clevenger, pointing out how to best pick up pitchers' arm slots. Good stuff. The kids ought to listen.
On other fronts, there was some Cubs interest in pitcher Chan Ho Park, who has agreed to terms with the Yankees. Park's price for most of the winter was too high, and many in the game felt he wanted to go to the Yankees all along.
The Cubs are still in the hunt for a right-handed reliever.