Notes and Quotes

Prior awaits Cactus League debut

RHP Mark Prior threw 30 pitches to hitters Thursday, but his Cactus League debut is still up in the air.

Prior, who is set back because of a two-week illness during the winter, is still expected to make his regular-season debut against Cincinnati on April 5. If the Cubs want to get him on a regular schedule, he likely would make his first exhibition start on either March 16 or March 21.

  • LF Matt Murton doubled in Thursday's loss to Colorado one day after homering against San Diego. Murton is scheduled to be the team's starting left fielder after he hit .321 in 51 major league games last year. Cubs manager Dusty Baker knows Murton has power but wants the likely sixth-place hitter in the lineup to work on situational hitting and finding the gaps rather than swinging for the fences.

  • RHP Jerome Williams gave up six runs in three innings against Colorado on Thursday, but it's doubtful he will be knocked out of the starting rotation. Williams is slated for the No. 4 or No. 5 spot until Kerry Wood and Wade Miller (shoulder injuries) return. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said that even if Williams has a bad camp, his performance last year with the team (6-8, 3.91) should be a guide to what he can do.

  • RHP Roberto Novoa has been missing action because of a respiratory illness. The Cubs are banning him from camp for a few days so he doesn't infect the rest of the players.

  • LHP Rich Hill, who is fighting for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, gets his second Cactus League start on Friday. Hill averaged 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings on three minor league levels last year, which was the best performance in all of minor league baseball. But in 10 major league appearances, he posted a 9.13 ERA. He is an up-and-comer in the system but may have a hard time cracking the starting five out of camp.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 41,118 -- Capacity of Wrigley Field after the new bleacher expansion. Last year, the park held 39,539.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to participate in this thing and be out in the first round. That would be, in my opinion, God-awful." -- Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, who will represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic.

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