Notes: Zambrano talks to continue

Notes: Zambrano talks to continue

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is expected to talk to Carlos Zambrano's agent late Sunday regarding a new deal for the pitcher.

The Cubs are hoping to reach some kind of agreement before Tuesday. Zambrano is arbitration-eligible, and a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Phoenix. The right-hander, who made $6.5 million last season, is seeking $15.5 million while the Cubs have countered with $11.025 million.

The Cubs have gone to arbitration five times, and are 3-2 so far in cases. In 1980, Bruce Sutter sought $700,000 and the Cubs offered $350,000. Sutter won that case. In 1985, Leon Durham asked for $1.1 million and the Cubs offered $800,000. The Cubs won.

In 1988, Andre Dawson asked for $2 million and the Cubs offered $1.85 million. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Cubs. In 1990, Shawon Dunston asked for $1.25 million and the team countered at $925,000. Dunston won. The Cubs won in 1993, when Mark Grace filed for $4.1 million and the Cubs offered $3.1 million.

Arms race: Sean Marshall played catch Sunday and threw lightly off the mound. The left-hander was behind the other pitchers workout-wise because of some minor issues with his shoulder. He was excited about Sunday's session.

"My arm speed is like it was two years ago," Marshall said. "I was a little slower last year. My throws were crisp [Sunday], flat ground felt good, and my stride was back in line. My throwing has been going really well."

He threw from 110-130 feet, long toss, and described the session as "awesome." If all goes well, he could be throwing off the mound with the other pitchers either Monday or Tuesday.

Scorecard: Expect to see some interesting lineups this spring. The only spots set are Alfonso Soriano first, Derrek Lee third and Aramis Ramirez fourth. Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Jacque Jones could bat second or fifth, depending on what outfield combination he comes up with.

"Look, what's going to determine all these things is what happens in center field," Piniella said.

If Jones is in center, Cliff Floyd in left and Soriano in right, Jones could bat second and Floyd fifth. If Soriano is the starting center fielder, then the Cubs have to figure out who's starting in the corners.

"We'll have a much better idea in the middle of Spring Training," Piniella said. "I have some ideas, but they're just ideas."

Spring Training
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Early bird: Shortstop Cesar Izturis says his hamstring is 100 percent healed, and he's eager to show Cubs fans what he can do.

"He says he's ready to go," Piniella said. "That's one of our keys here in Spring Training is to keep that one healthy. He's got a sure-handed glove. That's something that really helps your pitching staff when you can catch it the way he does. He's ready to go."

Izturis skipped playing winter ball but focused on leg exercises and getting in shape. The one-time Gold Glove winner did some drills with another Gold Glover, first baseman Lee, on Sunday.

"I have a big target over there," Izturis said of Lee. "He's flexible and he's good."

Although he was only with the Cubs for August and September, Izturis is eager to put 2006 behind him.

"Last season is over," he said. "We have to put that in the past. We have a good chance to make the playoffs. We have to go out, play our game."

Nice shoes: Ryan Theriot had to do a little doctoring of his new shoes on Sunday. He now wears No. 2, and his shoe company delivered blue cleats with No. 3 stitched on the top.

"I don't care what number. I just want one," said Theriot, who also has a favorite jersey in his locker that he's updated. On a tag inside the shirt, it lists all of his numbers with an "X" through the old ones. He's worn Nos. 55, 3, 7 and now 2.

More important, Theriot is chasing down fly balls in the outfield. He has played 15-20 games in left and right in the Minor Leagues, and is checking out center this spring.

"It's just a matter of getting comfortable, seeing the ball off the bat," he said. "I've never played center field. It was a little bit easier because I was a little more straight on with the ball. It's just slowing down for me out there. In the infield, everything is so quick. Out there, you have to wait a second and then go. That's nothing new. I've been having to slow down for a long time."

He is borrowing a Matt Murton outfield glove for now.

"I'd rather take my infield glove out there, honestly," he said.

Minor matters: Expect to see Hall of Fame second baseman and new Peoria manager Ryne Sandberg in Cubs camp next week. Sandberg and his former teammate, Jody Davis, who will be managing the Daytona team, will lead a mini-camp for Minor League players.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.