Word on the Street: Baker fears Cubs in Central

Word on the Street: Baker fears Cubs in Central

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011CSNChicago.com
Baker fears Cubs in NL Central

After a disappointing 2010 campaign many people remain skeptical about the team's chances in 2011, even with the aquisition of a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in Matt Garza. Reds manager Dusty Baker is not one of those people.

Baker believes that the Cubs will be right in the thick of what he predicts to be a wide-open NL Central race this year.

"Our division is tougher. The Cubs are better, they have picked up some pitching, and they've got some healthy pitching coming back, and they have some new players," Baker said. "Our division is going to be one of the tougher divisions. Seems like whoever was trading somebody was trading to our division. It's going to be a tough fight; it's going to be a tough division. But, hey, that's what it's all about." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Hawks punished at practice

If there was any question as to how Blackhawks' coach Joel Quennenville felt about his team's level of play on Monday night in Calgary, it was erased at Tuesday's practice. Quennenville put his team through an intense 45-minute practice today - "punishment" for their poor effort in Monday's 3-1 loss to the Flames.

Last nights a good example. You get what you deserve, coach Joel Quenneville said of the missing competitive level. Youve got to play hard every night. With Vancouver, the way you play, even though you lost, you still have to come out again like that. (Monday night) was one of the biggest (games) of the year, the importance of it all and it was disappointing. We didnt handle it the way we shouldve. (CSNChicago)
LakersNuggets in talks for Anthony

As the NBA trade deadline creeps closer and closer, another potential suitor for Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony has come to out of the woodwork. The Los Angeles Lakers are now reported to have begun "preliminary" talks into a deal involving Anthony.

It has been speculated that the deal would revolve around the often-injured Lakers center Andrew Bynum. However, there were also some reports indicating that the Lakers would be unwilling to trade Bynum. (All Headline News)

Pujols deadline is Feb. 16

It was reported last month that Albert Pujols gave the Cardinals a spring training deadline to work out a contract extension. It was assumed that Pujols meant Feb. 19, the day he was expected to report to the Cardinals' spring training facility. As it turns out, though, he will be reporting three days earlier than was originally thought - Feb. 16.

However minor, this three day jump in his deadline is interesting because the Cardinals have still yet to make Pujols a contract offer, and now they have three fewer days than they might have previously assumed. (MSNBC)

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