Lineups and notes from Wrigleyville
Have I mentioned I like this place? Yes, it's a bit cool this time of year, but still. Day baseball in a packed park is wonderful. Love it.
Talked to Soriano this morning. Guess what. He was smiling. Crazy, huh? And so was another old friend, Daryle Ward.
Here's your lineups for a 2:20 p.m. eastern start. Keep in mind tomorrow's game is at 1:05 p.m., and back to 2:20 on Sunday.
Lopez -- 6
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Church -- 8
Kearns -- 9
Young -- 3
Schneider -- 2
Casto -- 7
Bergmann -- 1
Alfonso Soriano -- 7
Cliff Floyd -- 9
Derrek Lee -- 3 (has 17 doubles already)
Aramis Ramirez -- 5
Michael Barrett -- 2
Jacque Jones -- 8
Mark DeRosa -- 4
Cesar Izturis -- 6
Carlos Zambrano -- 1
Some notes: Lou Piniella said that Angel Guzman will start Sunday's game for the Cubs, despite the fact that he has a 12.19 ERA at Class AAA Iowa. With Zambrano going today and the very hot Rich Hill tomorrow, Shawn Hill vs. Guzman might be the Nationals' best matchup.
Talked to new guy Ryan Langerhans. He said the last week -- in which he was traded twice -- was a bit weird. Was in Denver when the trade from the Braves to the A's happened. Flew to Atlanta to get his stuff. Flew to Boston to join the Athletics. Played in two games, and was traded again. Flew to Chicago. He said he knows a lot of the Nationals from having played against them, and he's very happy to be reunited with bench coach Pat Corrales, who was in Atlanta his entire tenure there.
Talked to Corrales, too, and he thinks that Langerhans's significant offensive problems can be solved in one word: confidence. "He's better than he thinks he is," Corrales said. We'll see. Acta said he'll be used as a fourth outfielder/defensive replacement/double switch guy. He could spell Nook Logan in center against the occasional right-hander, but when I asked Acta if this means the days of Logan's switch hitting are over, he answered with an emphatic no.
Logan and Cristian Guzman will fly to Milwaukee Sunday night. Logan off today, Guzman playing his second straight nine-inning game at extended spring training.
Talked to Jim Hendry, the Cubs GM. Not that you care, but in 1994, I covered the Elmira Pioneers of the New York-Penn League, short-season Class A ball. The manager of that team: Jim Hendry. And the first game for the Pios (as we called them) that year was against the Auburn Astros. The manager of that team: Manny Acta. Spent about 10 minutes with Hendry and Acta reliving NYP League memories. Hendry was ejected seven times that summer. Jeff Pentland, who became the long-time hitting coach with the Cubs during the Sosa years, was the Elmira hitting coach. Acta had Chris Truby on his team. Hard livin', good times in the NYP.
Back to current events: Hendry said that Soriano was pressing that first month. "You know him, he wanted to please everybody," he said. "He was trying to hit 40 homers in April." Well, now he has two. If he doesn't hit one this weekend, I'll be shocked.
One more: Jerome Williams is going to throw a side session tomorrow. He'll then likely head to Columbus for rehab work following his sprained ankle. The club won't say so yet, but Jason Simontacchi is your likely starter Tuesday in Milwaukee. And even if Williams is healthy, he could be kept in the minors for about a month.
Actually, one more more: Scouting guru Mike Rizzo in the house today. Taking a break from the road because he grew up five miles from the park, up Waveland Ave. I'm going to sit down and talk to him about the upcoming draft tomorrow, so I'll get you any news from there. Nationals, in case you haven't heard, have five of the first 71 picks. Have the Redskins ever had that many?
You want an in-game update or two as you finish your work week? You got it.
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