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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Infield Battle

You heard it here first (ok, second). Carrie Muskat of was interviewed on MLB Radio the other day and said without equivocation that Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton will be starting at shortstop and left field in 2005. Further, she said you won't see Marquis Grissom and Neifi Perez in those slots and that Dusty Baker has nothing against young players but that he's never before had young players who were ready to play.

I have to admit I, like many other Cubs fans, remain skeptical. Dusty's reputation is not undeserved

It should be an interesting situation, especially when throw Jerry Hairston in the mix at second base along with Todd Walker. Muskat sees that shaping up as the biggest competition of the spring. Hairston wasn't terrible last year but I think people tend to underrate both Walker's defensive and offensive contributions. They may also need Walker to play more third depending on the health of Aramis Ramirez and Muskat perhaps sees a platoon developing.

Last season according to Baseball Prospectus Walker was -6 fielding runs above average (FRAA) and +10 batting runs above average (BRAA) while Hairston was -1 FRAA and -7 BRAA. Of course Hairston is coming off of an ankle injury that certainly limited him last season.

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