TUCSON, Ariz. _ Lou didn’t make the trip down here to Tucson today. He stayed back at HoHoKam to work with some of the players. His back also was said to be a little sore. Can’t blame him if he couldn’t make Tucson. This is the Cubs’ last trip here as the D’Backs, today’s opponent, head up to the Phoenix area next year for spring.
Alan Trammell runs the club today. We’ll get to a few tasty bites here in a sec. Here’s the lineup:
Back at the ranch, Lou told a pool reporter that D-Lee should be back tomorrow for the home game against Oakland. He hurt his lower back as a clubhouse chair collapsed on him yesterday. Aramis Ramirez, who hit a towering homer Wednesday in a minor-league game, should be back at third base tomorrow. He’s been battling a sore triceps. Xavier Nady, hit on the right hand with a pitch yesterday in a Double-A game, had a precautionary X-ray. He’s said to be OK.
Talking to Tram today, he says he feels Mike Fontenot can handle things as the backup shortstop. “I’m confident to say that he could do it,” Tram said. “We’ve played him a few games there, and I’m glad we got him in just recently back-to-back games at short because so often in spring training, you can play a game and get taken out in the middle of the game and then not play there for while. Then you go back out there, and my point is, you don’t get any action. When you play him there two games in a row, at whatever position, you usually get tested. So the second game we had him in there, against Cincinnati the other day, he got three groundballs, just the kind of routine plays we’re looking for that he passed the test.”
It’s looking more likely, according to Lou, that reliever Jeff Gray, won’t make the club out of spring training. Gray hurt his groin at the start of camp. He made his spring debut yesterday against Texas and pitched a scoreless inning. The Cubs don’t want to rush him.
It’s also likely the Cubs will get down to 12 or 13 pitchers by tomorrow and to 16 or 17 position players. It’s getting close. If Fontenot can sub at short, things start looking better for Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy and worse for Andres Blanco. We'll see what happens with Colvin and Fuld, too.