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by Derek Smart
It's a week away. Seven days from now I'll hardly be able to contain my delight, as the Cubs prepare to meet the Diamondbacks in Arizona to open the season. I'm nearly hysterical today just thinking about it. As Wayne and Garth once said, "Game on!" But until then, here's some fun with bullet points.
Kerry Wood's return to game action is being moved from Tuesday to Wednesday, in part to give him another day to get his pitch count up, and in part to keep the Brewers from getting an extra look at him before Wood's scheduled start against the Crew in the Wrigley Field opener. He reportedly threw 63 pitches in a simulated game on Friday, and all went very well. Keep your fingers crossed.
We'll know more later today about Mark Prior's status, as he's scheduled to throw a simulated game in Mesa. A good session, leading to a more aggressive throwing program - including a possible Saturday start against the Mariners - could see him at the 70-80 pitch threshold the Cubs would like him to be at in order to give the green light for an April 12 debut. Otherwise, he may go on the DL to give him more time to get his arm strength up, and me more time in the isle of the drugstore where they keep the Tums.
Bruce Miles wrote in the Daily Herald on Sunday that Jason Dubois is likely to stick with the team over David Kelton, and that the Cubs will simply hope that Kelton is able to slip through waivers. While I'd hate to see Kelton go for nothing, it makes infinitely more sense to keep Dubois, and I hope the club does, indeed, make that choice. Of course, I'll believe it when I see it.
Speaking of things that had to be seen to be believed, anyone watching the late portion of Sunday's Cactus League contest between the Cubs and Padres got to see something that only the spring could bring - Eddie Oropesa getting an at bat.
There's no record of his ever having a plate appearance in the Majors, and it's a shame, because everyone who loves the game should get to see his stance just once - it's as if Rickey Henderson and pre-Jeff Pentland Sammy Sosa had a left-handed love child, with the result being an approach that combined the deep, Henderson crouch with the old-style Sosa bat-pointing-toward-the-pitcher. Of course, the best part was when, after looking the fool on the first pitch he saw, he put a fastball into left field for a single. Only in the spring, folks.
Those of you hoping to see the final two parts of my Know Your Enemy Series, fear not, they are on their way. Life has intervened a bit of late, making it difficult for me to meet my schedule, but rest assured, the Cardinals will be previewed this week starting either Wednesday or Thursday. Also, you may notice that sidebar links are going up around the site, and we'll be following suit soon. Thanks for your patience, and until then, get ready for some baseball!