Situation right for Lance Louis contract extension

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Situation right for Lance Louis contract extension

While doubts abound at multiple spots along the Bears offensive line Chilo Rachal already is out and Chris Spencer in at left guard, Gabe Carimi is in doubt at right tackle right guard is not one of them.

Indeed, quite the opposite, with Lance Louis now among the leading prospects for multi-year contract extension before this season.

I think Lance has had a very consistent year as far as improving, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who began coaching Louis and the Bears offensive line in 2010. I think every week he gets better. Im very pleased with his progress. He has that one or two plays a game that Im sure he would like to have back but hes continuing to improve as a young player, and in leaps and bounds.

His arrow is up.

So is his contract after this year. But whether he ever makes it to free agency is unlikely given that both he and the team would like him to stay in Chicago.

I love it here, Louis said. Love it. No doubt about it I cant think about all of that right now but man, I would love to stay here.

Louis, who once needed a strong final preseason game to ensure getting past final cuts as a rookie, signed a four-year contract after the Bears selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft and has found a home.

More to the immediate situation and timing, the Bears have organizational history of taking early care of offensive linemen they want to keep. Last November the Bears signed center Roberto Garza to a two-year extension. They extended backup centerguard Edwin Williams in late December.

As the Bears address crisis situations elsewhere along the front, locking up what quality there already is in place becomes a priority.

You can see that were getting better as a group, Garza said. You know that if you can keep the guys together over time, you have that chemistry, the ability to play together.

Locking up Louis long term will be a welcome statement in the locker room.

Amid the carnage of the Bears in general and the offensive line in particular last Monday night in San Francisco, two players actually had a teammate speaking in superlatives.

I think Garza played an amazing game, said wide receiver Brandon Marshall. And I just got done watching the film, and watching Lance. Man, we can win with that type of effort. He was just throwing guys around.

Im proud to say Im his teammate, because those are the type of guys you want to win with and if we can all get on that level, the way those guys played, I think well have a chance.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Morning Update: White Sox officially announce signing of Luis Robert, split doubleheader

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Saturday: 

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

Preview: Knights look to bounce back tonight on CSN

White Sox courting of Luis Robert leads to 'Christmas in May'

Cubs blanked again by Dodgers

Tyler Danish gets win in first big league start as White Sox beat Tigers in first game of doubleheader

After getting shut down by Buck Farmer, White Sox ninth-inning rally falls short

Scott Boras fires back at Jake Arrieta’s critics and makes another Max Scherzer comparison

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Luis Robert will start journey through White Sox organization in Dominican Summer League

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base