Word on the Street: Harry Caray statue vandalized

Word on the Street: Harry Caray statue vandalized

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Harry Caray statue defaced

The statue of legendary announcer Harry Caray outside of Wrigley Field was found defaced Sunday with white spray paint graffiti on the base. Nobody is quite sure when the graffiti first appeared nor what the vandal was aiming to say. The first word "Sox" is very readble, but another not-quite-intelligible word appears underneath.

Cubs officials said they learned about the vandalism just before 5:30 p.m. and the team responded by removing most of the white spray paint. (Chicago Tribune)
Sox-Yankees trade looming?

With Andy Pettitte's retirement announcement this week, the New York Yankees are suddenly searching for some starting pitching help. While guys like the Indians' Fausto Carmona are on the block, could the Yanks be more interested in what the White Sox have to offer?

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune believes it could very well be possible and even went so far as to indicate the Sox dealing John Danks in a massive, high-profile trade. (Chicago Tribune)

Singletary next in line as Bears coach?

Legendary Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, the captain of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning defense, may be back on the sidelines for his old team, but in a completely different capacity. After Singletary was relieved of his post as the San Francisco 49ers head coach earlier this season, the outspoken former player took a job as the linebackers coach with the Minnesota Vikings alongside Leslie Frazier, another former Bear from that 1985 squad.

However, Singletary said he feels weird coaching against the Bears in the same division and if a situation ever presented itself in Chicago, he wouldn't dismiss it. (Chicago Tribune)

Urlacher received same shot as Cutler

It has been reported recently that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher received the same shot of Toradol as quarterback Jay Cutler did to play in the NFC Championship game. Urlacher was suffering from a sprained wrist and a few other minor injuries, but is still upset that people continue to question Cutler's injury or toughness.

Safety Chris Harris also reportedly took a shot to help alleviate pain from a hip injury. (ProFootballTalk.com)

Melo will only sign extension with Knicks

The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes have created much buzz in the NBA this season, with reports of the superstar forward potentially being traded to such teams as the Bulls and the New Jersey Nets. But, it's the New York Knicks that really look to be in the best shape for the services of Melo, as Anthony's agent told teams he was only interested in signing a contract extension with the Knicks. (ProBasketballTalk.com)
Pistons deactivate with Rip Hamilton

The Detroit Pistons have done away with shooting guard Richard Hamilton, deactivating the former star. The move is not permanent, but with rumors circulating all season that Detroit was looking to trade Hamilton, it appears he may have played his last game in a Pistons uniform. (ProBasketballTalk.com)

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Joe Maddon's T-shirt slogans can get a little old at times, but the Cubs manager found a new audience in Brett Anderson, who liked the idea of "Be Uncomfortable" after signing a one-year, prove-it deal with the defending champs.

"It's been awesome so far," Anderson said. "That's my running joke – we're a month into it now or whatever it is – and I don't hate anybody yet.

"That's a testament to the group as a whole – and maybe me evolving as a person."

Yes, Anderson's sarcasm, social-media presence and groundball style fits in with a team built around short-term pitching and Gold Glove defense. The if-healthy lefty finished his Cactus League tour on Saturday afternoon by throwing four innings (one unearned run) during a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 13,565 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Anderson will open the season as the No. 4 starter after a camp that has been remarkably low-key and drama-free.

"I'm kind of cynical by nature, but it's a fun group to be a part of," Anderson said, "(with) young guys that are exciting and happy to be here. And then obviously the mix of veterans, too, that are here with intentions of winning another World Series."

To make that happen, the pitching staff will have to again stay unbelievably healthy. Anderson rolled with a general question about how he physically feels now compared to where he's usually at by this time of year.

"Obviously better than last year, because I was walking with a gimp and all that stuff," said Anderson, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a bulging disk in his lower back last March. "No, my body feels good, my arm feels good and you're getting into the dog days of spring training where you're itching to get to the real thing."

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. – Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella appears to be the final decision as the Cubs shape their Opening Night roster.

That's assuming good health – manager Joe Maddon sounded unconcerned about Ben Zobrist (stiff neck), Addison Russell (stiff back) and Albert Almora Jr. (stiff neck) – and the Cubs carrying an eight-man bullpen.

Maddon appeared to eliminate one variable, confirming that La Stella has signaled a willingness to go to Triple-A Iowa if necessary, which would normally be an obvious statement, except for last summer's "Where's Tommy?" episode.

"I haven't even thought about it," Maddon said during Saturday's media session at the Sloan Park complex. "It's not an issue. I thought we handled it pretty openly last year and there's been no blowback whatsoever from the players."

Beyond this – La Stella initially refused to report to the minors last July, moved back home to New Jersey and talked briefly about retirement – an American League scout and a National League scout tracking the Cubs in Arizona both agreed that Szczur looks like the superior player.

Plus Szczur – and not La Stella – is out of minor-league options now.

"When you get this kind of a talent, depth-wise, it's a wonderful problem to have," Maddon said. "And then, of course, the rules start creeping in. The rules in this situation would benefit Matt, which is a good thing, because he's a big-league guy that's been riding the shuttle. He's done it in a very stoic manner, and he's been great for us."

La Stella has allies in the clubhouse – Jake Arrieta got a Coastal Carolina tattoo on his right butt cheek after losing a College World Series bet – and goes about his routine in a quiet, diligent manner.

La Stella is not a distraction at all and can hit left-handed and play the infield – two attributes that Szczur can't bring to Maddon's bench.

"Matt Szczur, to me, is a Major League Baseball player," Maddon said. "You're seeing what Tommy can do from the left side of the plate right now. And then it's just a matter of balancing things out. We've already mentioned that some guys on the infield can play the outfield within this group, thus it presents differently regarding what you need."

[MORE CUBS: Javier Baez won’t change his style around Cubs after World Baseball Classic: ‘We’re not showing anybody up’]

Szczur is hitting .361 with a .994 OPS through 14 Cactus League games and can play all over the outfield. But that skill is diminished when the Cubs already have four established outfielders plus Zobrist and Kris Bryant able to shift from the infield.

Then again, defensive wizard Javier Baez should have the Cubs covered all across the infield in case of an emergency. With the defending World Series champs a week out from facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, we're about to find out if Maddon made his recommendation or had a possible trade scenario or disabled-list situation in mind.

"I love Matt Szczur," Maddon said. "This guy as a teammate – you're not going to get a better one. Nobody's going to get a better one on any team for any reason.

"We haven't decided everything or anything yet. Stuff happens in a very short period of time. He is a major-league baseball player. So we'll just wait a couple more days, see how it plays out. But he's a benefit to any group that has him."