Teddy, Teddy here, I'm sure this has been covered before but I need the bottom line: What should the Cubs do about the catcher situation? Everyone loves Girardi and he's the only guy on the team (I think) with rings. Problem is he can't hit, neither can Hundley. Baylor has to play Hundley to please Hundley's Dad and justify his big fat paycheck. Machado seems like he would come around if he could get more playing time but that's the guy you hear trade rumors about. Your thoughts? --Teddy Trestik, Las Cruces, N.M.
Teddy, I'd expect nothing less than such a fine question from you. As you know, Machado was dispatched to Milwaukee on Sunday to join the Cubs' JV team, so we no longer have to worry about him.
Mets from 1996-97. And it's not like Hundley hurts the team defensively. True, Fred McGriff might be able to steal third on him. But Hundley calls a good game, as evidenced by Jon Lieber's near-shutout against the Mariners on Sunday.
Teddy, what's the deal with the knob on Sammy's bat? That thing is huge? --Jeremy Barewin, Chicago
No doubt, as Sammy likes to say. It helps him avoid chucking the bat into the stands (a la Ricky Gutierrez) on errant swings. Sammy wouldn't want to maim his fan base.
I was watching a Twins game when they started talking about a hitting drill where the batting coach stands just off the mound and flips pitches to the players on the outside of the plate to get them to go the opposite way. Does Jeff Pentland do these kind of drills, or do the Cubs just go through normal BP? --Cathy Klimek, Coon Rapids, Minn.
Pentland does a lot of "flips" with the players, but they do it in the batting cages beneath the right-field bleachers, away from your (and my) prying eyes.
When is Baylor going to scrap his makeshift lineup against left-handers? As I write this, the lineup has produced five victories in 17 chances. Nothing irritates me more than seeing Lewis, Stynes, Bellhorn, etc. in the lineup regardless of who's
pitching. Are you right-handed? If Baylor wants to give up outs I'd find it more entertaining watching you get a chance to swing the lumber, than these other journeymen "specialists" they've assembled. --Seann Perez, Aurora
I appreciate the compliment -- or was it an insult? Yeah, Baylor has mixed up his lineup against lefties, trying veterans with right-handed sticks such as Darren Lewis and Mark Bellhorn over Corey Patterson and Bobby Hill. Has it worked? Not really. But the way this team is going, Baylor could send the National League All-Stars out to the field in Cubs uniforms and they wouldn't score.
Teddy, in the baseball world, is there a correlation between performance and fashion? My point: As your clothes have improved in the press box (yes, some of us out there notice these things), Fred McGriff has finally emerged from his coma and has hit some monster home runs. Your thoughts? --Nori Bleiman, Chicago
Superb question. McGriff has perked up since I chucked some of those wrong sportswriter threads. But what are you doing taking your eyes off the field of play? That could be dangerous. And I know my girlfriend wouldn't like it.
Is David Kelton's move to first base a permanent move? And if it is, who do you see as the third baseman of the future? --Eric Linn, Plantation, Fla.
I can't imagine Kelton ever resurfacing at third, though Cubs
officials still hold out hope. So who's their third baseman of the future? How about Ron Santo's grandson? He is named Sammy.
On the Cubs Web page they have a list of all their first-round picks going back to 1965. Some I've heard of (Joe Carter, Shawon Dunston, Don Schulze) but most I have not. Is there any resource which will tell me what happened to each of these players and who were chosen ahead of them? --Bob Devetski, South Bend, Ind.
Hmmm … Baseball America is my source for draft info. I'd try their Web site.
Teddy, is everything all right with Jon Lieber? After starting the season 3-0, he's now 3-4 and struggled against the Pirates on May 29. Is everything OK with his elbow? Or is this just an off-year? -- Liz Dickman, Springfield, Ill.
We've been wondering the same thing, Liz. All along, Lieber and
catcher Joe Girardi have insisted he's fine. And after seeing Lieber dominate the Mariners on Sunday, I'm also convinced he is.
After his last win, I heard Matt Clement talk about "trusting his stuff," a phrase I've also heard in reference to Juan Cruz. Is this a Larry Rothschild buzzword? And what exactly is he talking about? --Kendall Matthews, Columbia, S.C.
"Trusting your stuff" means having enough confidence in your pitches so you don't have to overthrow or try to hit the edge of the corners every time. For example, Clement's slider is so good, he shouldn't have to get cute and try to throw it three inches off the plate. Just let the hitters get themselves out. Make any sense?
Teddy, I heard an interesting fact about all of the National League managers: They were all brought up through a National League system. You have Bruce Bochy who was in the Padres system all through his career, Jim Tracy in L.A. who spent his entire career in the Cubs' system, Dusty Baker who was with the Dodgers and Giants and then you have Don Baylor who spent his entire career in the American League. No other manager in the National League had no playing time in the National League. Do you think this is a handicap for him and plays into the fact that he has so many double switches? --Bill Lucyshyn, Brookfield, Wis.
No, because what Baylor is criticized for is playing too much of a National League-style ball. Some people think he's too eager to call for sacrifice bunts and point to the opposite approach that was taken by Seattle's Lou Piniella on Saturday. With nobody out and runners on first and second, Piniella had Desi Relaford swing away -- and the result was an RBI triple. Piniella, of course, manages in the AL and played in both leagues. Bochy, meanwhile, plays an AL-style game.