With Ted Lilly safely swaddled in blue pinstripes, the Cubs turned their attention toward signing lefthanded hitter, Daryle Ward, the son of former big leaguer, Gary Ward. He would presumably take the spot of John Mabry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mabry.

The 31-year-old Ward split last season between Washington and Atlanta and was one of the NL's most productive pinch-hitters, hitting .350 (21 for 60), with 4 hr, 17 rbi and a line of .438/.633/1071. Overall against righties, he hit .345 with a dandy line of .412/.619/1031.

By contrast, Mabry hit a lusty .205 overall (.283/.324/607) and just .195 (8 for 41) in the pinch.

Though Ward will be listed as a 1B/OF on the Cub roster, he should not be confused with either a first baseman or an outfielder. He'll be on the team to hit, and he'll be in the field only when no better alternative presents itself. Obviously, then, the Ward signing would have no impact on the Cubs' interest in Cliff Floyd, who, from what I read, would prefer to spend 2007 playing in Wrigley Field.


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