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« Cubs & Sox -- The Spring Training Previews Hawks Continue Shuffling Deck Chairs »

Cubs Mon Feb 28 2011

Quade's First Decisions Look Good

dempster.jpg

Ryan Dempster / Tribune photo: Phil Velasquez

Cubs' spring training has been underway for more than a few weeks and a few noteworthy tidbits have come up. The most important news of it all was that manager Mike Quade named his Opening Day starter. After starting the past six Opening Days, Carlos Zambrano will not be starting at Wrigley on April 1. Ryan Dempster will be taking the mound instead.

Zambrano is his own worst enemy, especially on Opening Day. He gets too amped up for his own good and ultimately ends up putting the team in position to lose more often than not. He'll start the second game of the season when all the hoopla of the first game of the year has subsided. Newly acquired Cub Matt Garza will start the third game of the year.

Dempster starting is the right choice. He's earned it. Since becoming a starter again in 2008 he's won 43 games. While he's not the same type of pitcher as Zambrano, he has definitely earned this honor by the way he carries himself on the field and in the clubhouse.

Quade also announced that Kosuke Fukudome will get first crack at leadoff man this spring. With very few options at the leadoff position this is the Cubs' best option. I would've gone with Starlin Castro as the leadoff hitter, but in the long run it's probably better not to force something on an athlete they're not accustomed to. The Cubs have done that in the past with former potential top prospects and it failed miserably. However, I don't think that the same fate is in store for Castro.

After his debut in Cincinnati last season he made it very clear that he is the real deal. Sure he'll have his ups and downs as a rookie -- no one's perfect -- but it is his ability to overcome the mistakes and keep his focus that will make him a future star. Luckily for Castro his manager holds him accountable for mental errors, potential star or not.

 
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