Greinke shows Cubs must prepare for the worst

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Greinke shows Cubs must prepare for the worst

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Posted 7:10 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. As satisfying as it might be for some fans to see the Cubs release Carlos Silva, they dont have that luxury.

Will Colvin accept Quade's challenge?

Between this seasons salary and next years buyout, Silva is guaranteed 13.5 million. He performed like an All-Star during the first half of last season and has accounted for more than 1,200 innings in his major-league career. Those factors cannot be ignored.

And as Silva always likes to point out, no one says anything about his weight when hes pitching well.

In the rush to run Silva out of camp after he nearly fought Aramis Ramirez in the dugout, Mike Quade projected a sense of calm. The manager looked beyond Silvas 29.70 ERA and insisted that everyone needed to let the rotation competition play out.

Quade didnt know many of the details surrounding Zack Greinkes injury. The unofficial medical term Dr. Lou Piniella might use is Cubby occurrence.

Sources described Greinke as a loner and an eccentric. He hurt his ribs playing pickup hoops after he reported to spring training. The initial reports out of Brewers camp had Greinke opening the season on the disabled list and missing a few starts.

Quade agreed that it essentially proved his point: A lot can happen between now and Opening Day.

Basketball, motorcycles, is there a list? Quade said Wednesday. Thats part of the reason (the front office) assembled the kind of depth that we think we have here and why you keep everyone going. (You) give them a chance to compete for jobs so you can evaluate. (Its) great insurance if something doesnt go according to plan.

The Cardinals have already lost Adam Wainwright to season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Cubs are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

The Cubs have as many as seven pitchers competing for the final two spots in the rotation (though some are real long shots). But to contend in the National League Central, they need to stay healthy, and receive big seasons from their three front-line starters.

The Cubs didnt get Matt Garza as a direct response to the Brewers trading for Greinke. But those two offseason deals will be compared for the next several years.

Garza made his third start in a Cubs uniform on Wednesday and struggled during a 13-4 loss to the Royals at HoHoKam Park.

Garza tried to establish his fastball early and labored through a five-run first inning. He started mixing in changeups, sliders and curveballs. He was pulled in the third inning and charged with six runs and four walks.

Im not concerned at all, Quade said, because what I saw from him in the last 10 hitters is what I completely expect to see when the lights go on in April.

Hes throwing the daylights out of the ball. (It) just seemed like he took a breath after not having great fastball command, committed to using his soft game and then brought his whole game where it needed to be.

Garzas spring ERA is now 14.85. Physically, he says he feels great, even though a line drive bruised his back and cut short his last start. Unlike Silva, he does not need to show results, and can just work on his craft.

However the rest of the pitching staff shakes out, Garza will need to be one of its leaders. He will be adjusting to a new team, a new league and a new city. The Cubs have a lot riding on the idea that he can handle it.

Its baseball, Garza said. Youre comfortable inside the diamond no matter what (uniform) youre wearing. I like this team. I like being here. I cant wait to get to Chicago.

Right now Im just trying to get ready for it. When that bell dings in April, Im going to be ready to go. You better believe that.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Addison Russell planning to become next Cubs superstar

Addison Russell planning to become next Cubs superstar

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell earned his manager’s trust by playing “boring” defense, always making the routine plays at shortstop with textbook fundamentals. Even Russell’s agent called him an “old soul,” already serious about his craft and driven by quiet determination and husband-and-father responsibilities.

But the Cubs also know Russell as a moonwalking showman with the freaky athleticism to do Ozzie Smith backflips and make spectacular highlight-reel plays. And you could see the vroom-vroom, fist-pumping celebrations after yet another clutch hit.

“Ever since I was a little kid,” Russell said, “I always wanted to be on the big screen.”

Now Russell will try to make the leap to superstar, as one of the many personalities on a Cubs team that can crossover nationally and live forever in Chicago, just like the ’85 Bears, the way Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have built their brands.

“We got great ballplayers, beautiful faces on this team,” Russell said. “Just talent galore in this clubhouse, and that’s really cool to see, because these guys handle themselves like real, true professionals.”

The start of spring training is a reminder that Russell has still only spent one wire-to-wire season in The Show. He turned 23 last month and has already become a World Series champion, the youngest player in franchise history to start an All-Star Game and the first Cub shortstop to reach 95 RBI since Ernie Banks in 1960.

Russell’s World Series grand slam helped him accumulate the most postseason RBI (14) in club history – after putting up 11 game-winning RBI for a 103-win team. FanGraphs also had Russell tying San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford for the major-league lead with 19 defensive runs saved at shortstop.

“Really, the sky’s the limit,” manager Joe Maddon said. “This guy is scratching the surface. He is that good. Know thyself – I think that’s what’s happening with a lot of our young guys. They’re understanding themselves better. And as they do, their game’s going to continue to improve.

“So with Addie, listen, he could be an annual All-Star, there’s no question. Beyond that, he’s just such a gifted athlete, so quick, and he cares so much. And he’s really turned out to be a good self-evaluator, so all those are components to creating a superstar.”

Russell said he’s working with Boras Corp. on potential endorsements with Pepsi and Audi. He visited a Nike headquarters in Oregon to help design his custom cleats and custom glove. He also posted images from the White House on his social-media accounts, which have nearly 549,000 followers combined between Twitter and Instagram.

“The opportunities are coming, which is great,” Russell said. “It’s a whole new playing field. I’m glad that I’m getting to see a different side of baseball, where I can actually find a couple talents off the baseball field. It’s all interesting stuff.”

It’s also taken some getting used to, as he almost had trouble remembering how many “Addison Russell Days” there were in Florida, between events at Pace High School and with the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners.

“This whole fame thing is really new to me,” Russell said. “Walking everywhere, people want autographs and stuff. Different airports, different cities, it’s very humbling. It’s a great blessing. I’m just a small-town guy, so it hit me pretty hard.”

Like the moment Russell realized what the Cubs just did, after the whirlwind of riding in the championship parade down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, standing on stage in front of millions at the Grant Park rally and going to Disney World.

“I remember this past offseason, going into my mom’s room and laying down on her bed,” Russell said. “That’s when all the memories of this past year – all the way from spring training (to) the All-Star Game and then the World Series run – it all hit me at once. It was overbearing, kind of, and I started crying.

“That’s when it sunk in. It was just a magical moment.”