Thursday is upon us as I write this, Cubs fans. And it’s a dark day indeed. A surprise snowstorm has left the Chicago area paralyzed as residents cower in fear at the strange white material coating our streets and driveways. Meanwhile, the sun remains hidden behind a dense bank of ominous gray clouds. In the distance, the mournful wail of an ambulance siren…

Ha, I’m just kiddin’. I rolled over the morning snow like Edgar Renteria taking out Mike Fontenot (more on him in a second) at second base. And I can actually see the sun and some blue sky out my office window. Now on the with the news*:

Cubs trumpeting Mike Fontenot’s versatility…and you know what that means.  Lou revealed yesterday that he plans on giving Lil’ Babe Ruth a look at shortstop during spring training. Some Cubs fans are screaming bloody murder over this move, but I’m just responding with a “Hmmm…” It’s hard for me to believe the team would actually consider using Fontenot as a backup shortstop – he had minimal experience there in the minors and didn’t look great at the position last spring. What I’m wondering is if the Cubs are doing this to give opposing team’s scouts a look at Fontenot at short to boost his trade value as the team (by Lou’s admission on WGN’s Dave Kaplan’s radio show last night) continues its search for a right-handed set-up guy.

With Andres Blanco’s stellar glove already in the fold and minor leaguer Darwin Barney close behind him, I don’t see why the Cubs would push Fontenot that far out of his second base comfort zone (where he’s quite good defensively) — especially after how he struggled at the plate when playing third base last season. (That time at third base is another notch in his “versatility belt,” however, which could also boost his trade value.) I’m not making any predictions here; just saying this is something to keep an eye on.

Happy Birthday, Ron Santo!  Yep, Ol’ No. 10 turns 70 today, so let’s show him some love. I know that he drives many Cubs fans crazy in the radio booth, but I’ll gladly live with his grunts and groans and generally mild inaccuracies to keep his heart and soul with the organization. Now if we could only will him into the Hall of Fame. (Click on that link for a great profile by Bruce Miles.)

Kevin Millar? Really?  Check out this fun interview with everyone’s favorite idiot. I can’t quite figure out what the Cubs are doing with Kevin Millar besides loosening up spring training camp and maybe bringing some championship wisdom to the club. And if that’s all they’re doing, fine. I just hope they’re not angling to wedge him onto the 25-man somehow in the hopes of counteracting the bad mojo Milton Bradley brought last season. The team is apparently looking at Millar as an OF/1B backup, but Xavier Nady or Jeff Baker could give DLee a day off, if necessary – or even Chad Tracy, if he makes the team. And I have a hard time believing Millar is anything but a liability defensively in the outfield. Just put Sam Fuld out there if need be (speaking of which, check out this cool profile of Sam).

And now it’s time for…MTV Cribs: Cubs style.  Ever wanted to stop by Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg’s place and have a look around. Well, now you can – figuratively speaking – with this ABC7.com article (and video!) I’m just glad Ryno didn’t usher us into the bedroom and tell us, “This is where the magic happens.”

*Click on those reddish-brown phrases for hyperlinks to articles. And, for the love of Ron, check back for updates!

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Update: According to Carrie Muskat, Lou says Big Z will most likely be the Opening Day starter. Carrie also tells us that Angel Guzman is experiencing shoulder pain and is being “held back” but is still expected to be ready by that aforementioned Opening Day. (Wow, did I really just use “is” three times in one sentence?)

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