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DeRosa eager for game action

DeRosa eager for game action

MESA, Ariz. -- Mark DeRosa is getting a little antsy.

The Cubs' second baseman has yet to hit off anyone but the coaches, and has been told to take it easy during defensive drills. He hasn't done much running. That's what happens after you've had surgery for an irregular heartbeat.

"I feel really good, actually," DeRosa said Thursday. "I think mentally, that's the biggest issue. I have to get back to normal and forget about it."

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DeRosa, who has had an irregular heartbeat since he was a teen, underwent a radiofrequency catheter ablation one week ago at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He decided to have the procedure after experiencing atrial arrhythmia during a workout at Fitch Park on Feb. 24. The incidents had become more frequent as DeRosa has gotten older, and he was given a choice of taking medication for the rest of his life or undergoing the RFCA.

During the procedure, a catheter is inserted into his leg, and that's what is holding him back.

"The problem isn't the heart," DeRosa said. "The problem is making sure the leg is fine. They go in through the groin and there's a bruise, and you just have to make sure it heals well."

The Cubs want DeRosa to see live pitching early next week, and if all goes well, get into a game by the middle of next week. DeRosa wouldn't mind skipping the live BP part.

"If I'm going to struggle, this is the time to struggle in these games," DeRosa said. "I'm not too concerned about what my batting average is going to be in Spring Training. I'd rather be baptized by fire and get after it."

Winning the Cactus League batting title apparently wasn't on his list of goals this season. The Cubs can deal with that.

"We're being cautious," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said about how they're handling DeRosa. "We're going on what our trainers say and what our team doctor says about his situation. We're going to stick with that schedule.

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"He can wait a few more days and let's do this thing the way the medical team wants," Piniella said.

Which means staying back while the Cubs went to Phoenix on Thursday to play the Oakland Athletics. He is taking grounders.

"Everything's gone fine but they've been pretty cautious," DeRosa said. "Game speed is going to be a little different. That's why these next couple days and through the weekend, I'm just going to try to forget about it and go through a normal daily routine just like everybody else."

DeRosa, projected as the regular second baseman, is the most versatile player on the Cubs' roster, and if he needs to get some work in the outfield, he'll do it. Right now, he'd just like the go-ahead to go full speed.

"I've been doing that stuff for so long, I'm just going to go out and do it," he said. "If they want me to go out and catch fly balls, I'll do it. The older I get, the more I feel like Spring Training is to prepare for the season and work on things to prepare for the season.

"I'm not concerned with numbers and that kind of stuff. Even though I haven't seen live pitching, I'd much prefer to play in a game and see it that way than go on some back field and simulate it. That's like the worst part of Spring Training is simulated live BP. I'd like to be a part of the team as soon as possible."

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

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