The First Cut

The Cubs cut 14 players Monday, leaving 44 on the spring roster.

Among those shipped out were Jeff Samardzija, who gave up just 1 run in 5 innings in Mesa and was sent to Class A Daytona; infielder Brian Dopirak, 2-for-11 with 2 RBI, who was sent to Double-A Tennessee; and left-handed reliever Clay Rapada, 5 earned runs in 3 innings, and infielder Scott Moore, who struck out in his only 2 plate appearances and made 2 errors in the field. Rapada and Moore were sent to Triple-A Iowa. Moore quickly got on Lou Piniella's bad side when, the day after making those 2 errors at third base, he told the Cub coaching staff he had been playing hurt.

Not much of a formula for impressing the new boss.

The other 10 Cub players sent a-packin' Monday were non-roster invitees, and all were returned to the Cubs' minor league camp. They included pitchers Jason Anderson, Sean Gallagher, Adam Harben, Ben Howard, John Webb and Randy Wells. Also moved were infielders Mike Kinkade and Eric Patterson, who seems to play second base a lot like an outfielder, plus actual outfielders Tyler Colvin and Chris Walker.

Speaking of minor leaguers, Mark Prior will get a chance later this week to pitch to a whole bunch of them. It's hardly a death knell for Prior's career as a Cub, but when you're running behind Wade Miller and the still very raw Angel Guzman in the race for the fifth starter's slot, you're a long way from good.


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