MESA, Ariz. _ It’s been another fun opener to spring training, and nobody’s even taken the field yet for an official workout. We’ll have three stories for tomorrow’s paper (online later today). We’ve also got numerous tweets up. Just to summarize:
--GM Jim Hendry and Carlos Marmol’s agent, Barry Praver, indicate Marmol will have a new deal tomorrow, avoiding an arbitration hearing, which is set for Tuesday. If the Cubs and Marmol don’t agree on a multiyear (read three-year) deal, they have a fall-back of a one-year deal ready to go.
--Manager Mike Quade says Ryan Dempster, Big Z and Matt Garza are in the running to start Opening Day and that Q will “milk it to the last.”
--Right fielder Tyler Colvin will get some time at first base this spring. Q is promising no playing time, but he expects Colvin to be a prominent part of the team. "He's got to get better as a player, whether it's playing this year or playing down the road,” he said. “He's got lots of work to do. We all do. He's got plenty of stuff to do, and there's a good group around him. I'm not handing him a job. He's a kid we're excited about. He knows it. He comes work every day expecting to earn a job. That's all you can ask."
--Dempster says about 25 Cubs hiked up nearby Camelback Mountain a couple of Thursday’s ago. That gets at the “chemistry” thing we talked about in this morning’s blog. More details about that in our three stories coming up.
--Hendry says nonroster veteran Reed Johnson has an honest shot to make the team. "Sure, he does,” Hendry said. “We got a lot of respect for people's careers, and Reed was a tremendous guy here and a great citizen and a great team guy. Mike was his outfield instructor. We felt we wanted some veteran people in who are high-character guys on a minor-league deal. Augie Ojeda's another one. I'm anxious to see on Braden Looper if he has anything left in the tank after a year off. Reed has a very realistic chance. I wouldn't put somebody through any kind of contract, guaranteed or not guaranteed if I didn't think he had a chance to make the club. If you're going to give somebody a chance that's looking for one, Reed Johnson a guy to hang your hat on."
--Quade said the high-profile nature of his new job hasn’t changed things too much. "I went home to Florida and the wonderful little neighborhood I live in, and I hadn't been back in awhile,” he said. “The lady next door, when I got back after the season, and this is a true story, brought me some chicken soup _ and a dozen baseballs to be signed.
"It doesn't do Mike Quade any good to get wrapped up in the magnitude. I'm more of a grinding, day-in, day-out, guy. If we're going to be successful here with me in charge, I have to stay in charge of myself and do what I have to do. I'm available, obviously to you guys and the fans. I love it. But I can't get wrapped up in the rest of it, and don't know what to do if I did."
We’ll forgive him the use of the third person, especially since he asked me the title of a Rush song during the middle of the news conference.