Updates & News
Despite giving up one run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in the ninth inning, Neil Ramirez notched his second save of the season as the Cubs beat the Phillies 2-1 on Friday.
Ramirez, who was given the save opportunity for the second time in a row, didn't look good in this appearance as he almost let the Phillies get the better of him in the end. How much of an impact that will have on the team's decision to keep giving him save chances is up in the air, but it seems to be very telling that Hector Rondon, who hasn't pitched since his June 6 meltdown wasn't afforded the opportunity. Manager Rick Renteria hasn't said anything about a closer-by-committee situation yet, but his actions certainly indicate that there is a change here. Perhaps there's more to Rondon's situation than just a meltdown so look for a team update soon enough. In the meantime, Ramirez should probably be owned if you're one of the unlucky who is chasing saves this year.ANALYST: Howard Bender
Julius Thomas (calf) did not participate in OTA's Thursday.
The injury is considered minor right now and since OTAs are voluntary, Thomas sitting out isn't a big deal. Look for him to get some rest and take part in workouts in a few days. The former favorite red zone target for Peyton Manning has his work cut out for him in Jacksonville as he's going to need to step up his work between the 20's if he wants to succeed. Analysis: Howard Bender
Alex Wood is confident his early-season struggles are behind him.
After Wood out-dueled Zack Greinke on Wednesday, he commented that he thought he had his best mechanics working in this start and that he was confident that this was a great starting point for him for the duration of the season. Apparently, through the first five starts, Wood was having mechanical issues that affected his sinker and his changeup. Pitching coach Roger McDowell helped him through it and now he's on a run where he's allowed just two runs over his last 19 2/3 innings. if you thought he was high on people's radar to start the year, imagine the trade talk that is about to ensue. Analysis: Howard Bender
Grant Balfour is leaning toward retirement.
It's apparently obvious that no other teams have shown any interest in the veteran free agent. Ideally, he would like a major league contract, but if he has tp settle for a minor league deal, he wants some sort of assurance that he'll be brought up in a timely fashion. If he can't get that, he'll probably head back Down Under. Analysis: Howard Bender