Tyler Colvin, the leadoff man, Jeff Samardzija and Reed Johnson are among the topics in this week's Inbox. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include your full name and hometown.
What are the Cubs planning on doing for a leadoff hitter? I don't think they have one on the roster.
-- Tim S., New Albany, Ind.
You're right. Cubs manager Mike Quade is aware, too. "You look at this club, as I do right now, and you say, 'Who's a perennial leadoff guy?'" Quade said. "'Who's the prototypical leadoff guy? Do we have one?' And I would say, 'I don't think so.' OK, when the answer is 'I don't think so,' I can mix and match." That means Quade will experiment with different players in the No. 1 spot this spring, including Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker, Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome, and he may go with a leadoff man by committee.
How is Tyler Colvin doing and will he be ready for Spring Training?
-- Ed W., Streamwood, Ill.
Colvin, whose rookie season ended early when he was stabbed in the chest by a broken bat in September, is healthy and has been working out in Mesa, Ariz., since late November. He's been joined at "Camp Colvin" by more than 30 players -- that includes several prospects -- eager to get a head start on the 2011 season.
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My father and I are both big Cubs fans and Notre Dame fans, so, of course, we follow Jeff Samardzija very closely. With the recent pitching additions, what are the plans for Jeff this season?
-- Mike C., Canyon Lake, Calif.
Samardzija is on the ever-increasing list of candidates for the rotation or the bullpen. He's out of options, so this is a big spring for him. The right-hander has been in Mesa to train since early November. Said Samardzija: "I'm very, very excited with how things are going and how I'm working out, how I'm throwing the ball, how I'm throwing off the mound already. I know at the end of the year, it'll be a different story than what it is now. A lot is to be written, but I'm excited. I feel great, I really do."
When do Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training?
-- Elliott B., Naperville, Ill.
Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13, and their first workout will be the next day at Fitch Park in Mesa. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 19.
When do the 2011 regular-season tickets go on sale?
-- Ian S., Dickinson, N.D.
Individual game tickets for the 2011 season go on sale Feb. 25.
I loved Reed Johnson as a Cub as much as anybody, and the '08 team with him was one of the best Cubs teams ever. However, his recent re-signing doesn't make sense to me. I know it was only a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training, but if he is healthy and plays like Reed Johnson, he has a good shot at making the Major League roster. With the outfield already crowded with Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin, and the option of Colvin playing first base gone, where would Reed fit? Someone would need to be moved. We know Soriano and Colvin aren't going anywhere. Byrd was a workhorse most of last season, and even though it would make sense to move Fukudome, giving up a left-handed bat for Johnson doesn't seem feasible.
-- Earnie B., Saint Charles, Va.
If he's healthy and plays like the Johnson of '08, he could be on the roster as an extra outfielder. One of the reasons the Cubs included Sam Fuld in the Matt Garza deal and wanted Fernando Perez was because they felt they had enough left-handed-hitting outfielders and wanted an extra right-handed bat. Johnson and Perez will be competing for the same job.
There isn't much known about Fernando Perez, other than his accomplishments during Tampa Bay's World Series run. What can we expect from Perez in 2011?
-- Melvin B., Beverly, N.J.
Perez is fast, a switch-hitter and very sharp. He was selected by the Rays in the seventh round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and has a career .279 batting average in the Minor Leagues. He was limited in '09 because of a wrist injury. He has appeared in 41 regular-season big league games and is 22-for-94 (.234) with five stolen bases. He went to school at Columbia University in New York -- the same school that Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Eddie Collins attended. He's a poet, has his own blog and Twitter account, and is a gifted writer.
Now that we have Reed Johnson back, is he going to start blogging "Reed Between the Lines" again?
-- Karyn M., Maitland, Fla.
Maybe he'll revive the blog during Spring Training. I'll see what I can do.
My wife and I are big Cubs fans. We have an 18-month-old named Maddux, who we named after Cubs great Greg Maddux. We are expecting our second son in May and are having trouble picking a Cub with the name of Garret.
-- Kyle N., Delaware, Ohio
There was an Adrian Garrett, who played in 1970 and from 1973-75, but he had a .163 average in four seasons with the Cubs. There has not been a Cubs player with the first name Garret. How about Geovany, Tyler or Fergie?