Cubs notes from Sept. 25.
The top member of the Cubs’ brass had a good laugh this week. Cubs president John McDonough on Tuesday denied a weekend report on the New York Magazine Web site that said members of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez’s camp were in talks about bringing the star to Chicago with a front-runner who would buy the Cubs. There was reportedly a 10-year, $300 million deal discussed that would include deferred money for future ownership in the team. That type of deal would be against Major League Baseball rules. While A-Rod could opt out of his deal after this season and the Cubs likely would have interest in trying to bring him to town, McDonough found the New York Magazine story to be humorous. “I laughed when I heard it — it’s outrageous,” McDonough said. Added Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who managed Rodriguez in Seattle when A-Rod broke into the league: “There’s no truth to that story. Do you think his agent (Scott Boras) would fall into a trap like that? He wouldn’t do that.” Boras denied the report. “Great players with great demand create great rumors,” Boras told The Associated Press. “While I would enjoy having lunch with (potential Cubs owners) Mark Cuban and (John) Canning, at this point of the year, that conversation would not include Alex Rodriguez. I have not talked to anyone.” Marq it Down Tonight’s scheduled Cubs starter, Jason Marquis, broke into the majors with Atlanta in 2000. In four seasons with the Braves and three with St. Louis, he has been on playoff teams seven straight seasons. “Maybe I’m a lucky charm. Maybe I’m not,” Marquis said. “I would like to think I had something to do with every one of those. Hopefully, we can keep it going.” Marquis is 12-8 this season. He will try to forget his last start, in which he gave up seven runs in 22⁄3 innings in a no-decision against Pittsburgh on Friday. Don’t Mark it Down Piniella originally had Steve Trachsel scheduled to pitch Thursday against Florida, Rich Hill on Friday in Cincinnati, Carlos Zambrano on Saturday and Ted Lilly on Sunday. Tuesday night, the skipper said that after Marquis’ start tonight, there could be changes in that plan. “We’re probably going to tweak our pitching between now and Sunday,” Piniella said. “Whoever is scheduled — I wouldn’t exactly go to the bank with it.” That could mean the Cubs have second thoughts about using Trachsel, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 13. TB or not TB Who knew that when Piniella went 63-99, 70-91 and 67-95 as Tampa Bay’s manager from 2003-05 that it would have an impact on this year’s Cubs? Piniella said he learned a lot from the three losing seasons. “In retrospect, it was a mistake (going to Tampa Bay),” he said. “But I wanted to be home. I learned a lot. I learned about managing young kids. I learned about patience. In this business, you learn a lot more from losing than winning, and there, I learned a hell of a lot.” That might be a reason why he has trusted young players such as Ryan Theriot, Matt Murton and Geovany Soto during the stretch run. “The young kids bring enthusiasm and vim and vigor to the situation,” Piniella said. “We used a lot of young kids here.” Santo Back Cubs legend and WGN Radio analyst Ron Santo was back in the booth after missing the weekend series with Pittsburgh with a virus. Santo said he thought it would be best to rest up and be strong for this week and the playoffs, if the Cubs make it that far. Santo missed the 2003 playoffs with bladder cancer. “I don’t want to miss it this year,” he said. Short Hops Theriot was back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with back spasms. ... Zambrano threw in the outfield, and Piniella is convinced Zambrano’s ailment (right forearm cramping Sunday) is a thing of the past. More Cubs news is at www.dailysouthtown.com/sports.