Hitting the slim fast

022309 HittingLR.jpg

ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgMESA, AZ–If you haven’t seen Tony Horton’s “Get Ripped in 90 Days” infomercial floating around the cable world, I was thinking several Cubs just might have.

Derrek Lee, noted as physical specimen already, looks even in better shape, if that’s possible. For all of the talk about Lee’s “decline” and lack of home runs, He’s really not that far off his career numbers. His monster year in 2005 has always been misleading.

“I don’t really see that as a big deal,” he said. “Everyone talks about it, and yeah it’s nice to hit homers, but the fact is I don’t need to hit only homers for us to win. We have plenty of guys to do that. So I think that’s a bit overstated.”

And in case anyone really thought he lost any power, he took cuts during two sessions of live BP and hit several bombs over the leftfield and rightfield fences….

Then there’s Geovany Soto, who perhaps doesn’t look “ripped” persay, but he definitely looks good. His bat looked quick, his legs look strong. Against Chad Gaudin, Soto ripped several line drives to left center–and this despite the fact that Gaudin was throwing sliders that earlier batters had swung and missed on.

A couple of other hitters are interesting and could be people to keep eyes on. Jake Fox was working out at third base today. When asked how many gloves he keeps in his bag, the former catcher replied: “Three, but I almost brought my catcher’s mitt out for old times sake.” Against Carlos Marmol, who was throwing mid-season velocity, Fox jumped all over fastballs, a good sign for a guy who might be asked to be a late-inning pinch hitter. With most relievers offering mainly fastballs in late innings, Fox might be a perfect fit….

And of course, Alfonso Soriano’s quick bat looked even quicker. Always a good sign.

Later today: Five Minutes with Aaron Miles and PHOTO DAY! 

–Mike Huang

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