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Friday, March 19, 2010
Cubs' Ramirez still has sore arm

By Bruce Levine

Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez continues to have issues with a sore right triceps.
Aramis Ramirez
Aramis Ramirez said his triceps is still sore, but he expects it to heal before Opening Day.

“I’m trying everything,” Ramirez said, referring to the medical staff’s treatment. “It’s just sore. It will be OK soon.”

The Cub veteran has missed a week in getting treatment for the injury.

“My legs are strong and it doesn’t hurt me to swing the bat. I’ll be fine,” he said.

Ramirez will hit against some competition on Saturday.

“If I can’t play, I’m going to go to the minor league complex and get some at-bats, but we will wait until tomorrow and see how it feels,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez did admit that he thought he was going to heal faster and said there’s plenty of time left in spring training.

Ready Teddy: Lefty Ted Lilly is anxious to get back on the mound and face some live competition.

“I’m going to pitch again on Monday and do a simulated game,” Lilly said on Friday.

I asked the Cub pitcher if he’s afraid of being too aggressive in his rehab.

“You have to be smart,” Lilly said. “I’m not so oblivious to the fact that you might come back two weeks too early and it could cost you down the road. You can never really foresee what’s in the future, but I’m going to try and make the smartest decisions I can.”

Gray area: Right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray’s return to the mound has been limited to around 30 pitches that he threw on Thursday.

“My next step is to repeat doing another inning or so and then the next step is to get in a game,” Gray said.

The reliever missed the first four and a half weeks of spring training due to a strained groin which he suffered while running in early February.

Millar time: Manager Lou Piniella said Friday that Kevin Millar will get his first playing time in left field on Saturday. This is another step for the veteran to prove to Cubs coaching staff that he’s versatile enough to keep on the roster. Piniella said he wants both Millar and infielder Jeff Baker to get some work in the outfield.

X to left: Outfielder Xavier Nady will soon be ready to play at first base and in the outfield, according to Piniella. Nady hit his first home run of the spring on Friday against the White Sox. He’s been relegated to DH appearances so far this spring as his surgically repaired elbow (ligament replacement) continues to get stronger.

Record breakers: The White Sox and Cubs drew a Cactus League record 13,414 fans on Friday in Glendale, marking the second day in a row that the Cubs helped set a new league attendance record. The Cubs have been involved in nine out of the top ten attendance totals in the league’s history.