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Odds are, we'll be in race, says Piniella

Odds are, we'll be in race, says Piniella

Odds are, we'll be in race, says Piniella


April 1, 2007

LAS VEGAS -- The odds of the Cubs winning the World Series were only 16-1 at one local sports book Saturday, despite the fact they are coming off a 96-loss season. That says a lot about the off-season moves general manager Jim Hendry made, though it also suggests many fans still bet on the Cubs just in case it's finally their year.

"I don't know anything about betting, but I do know that we like our ballclub, and these kids feel good about the way we play," manager Lou Piniella said. "I think we've developed a fairly nice chemistry this spring.

"We're in a competitive but winnable division. I don't know what the odds are, but I like our baseball team. I've said that all along, and I haven't changed my mind."

After being picked to finish fourth or fifth in the American League East in his three seasons in Tampa Bay, Piniella enjoys being on the other side of the fence.

"I love the high expectations," he said. "Why not? I'd rather be somewhere where there are high expectations than no expectations at all. This is the type of situation I enjoy as a manager. So from my standpoint, expectations are good."

The real start of the Piniella era comes Monday, though Carlos Zambrano said it isn't all that different from the Dusty Baker era.

"The only difference is there are a few more rules," Zambrano said. "That's good. When you want to be a disciplined team, you have to have rules. I'm OK with that."

Zambrano watch

There was no movement in the Zambrano negotiations Saturday, though a five-year deal through 2011 appears to be in the offing. Hendry is expected to meet with Zambrano's agent again Sunday in Cincinnati. If there's no deal by then, an announcement could be pushed off until Tuesday because Zambrano pitches in the opener on Monday. Sources indicate Zambrano's "deadline" of Opening Day isn't set in stone, despite Zambrano's pronouncement Thursday that he won't extend it even if they are close.

Viva Las Vegas?

Piniella loves Las Vegas, but wasn't keen on the Cubs playing their final exhibition games here, even though it's a moneymaker for the organization.

"If you want to celebrate it's OK," he said. "You can go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, too, and celebrate. This is probably not the best place in the world to finish your spring training. . . . These curfews get shuffled around a little bit. I think there will be some tired people going to Cincinnati."

That includes Piniella.


Henry Blanco may have to miss a game in Cincinnati to testify in a trial of his agent, leaving Matt Murton as the emergency catcher. Murton last caught a game in high school.

Season opener

Cubs at Reds

1:10 p.m. Monday at Great American Ball Park

TV: WGN-Ch. 9

Radio: WGN-AM 720

Probable starting pitchers

Carlos Zambrano (16-7, 3.41) vs. Aaron Harang (16-11, 3.76)

Tom Skilling's forecast

Plenty of sun. Game-time temperature in the mid-70s.

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Re: Odds are, we'll be in race, says Piniella

mvbski wrote:

Odds are, we'll be in race, says Piniella

Seems like the Cubs say this every year  ;D

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