Hey, Cubs fans. Heat, glorious heat has returned to the Chicago area - and I’m lovin’ every minute of it, Jerry! There’s something about a hot day that screams baseball. I want to watch it. I want to play it. I want to…oh, crap…I’m at work. I can’t do a damn thing but pass along these riveting Cubs news stories:

Big Z gets stimulated – er, I mean, simulated. I just can’t get enough of the simulated game jokes. I was even contemplating writing a parody post in which Carlos gets tossed from the game but The Heckler beat me to it. In any case, Z threw 73 pitches yesterday to Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker. (Balls and strikes info was not recorded, according to Carrie Muskat.) And he’s on track to return to the Cubs rotation this weekend against the Pirates.

In the meantime, we’re left to debate the merits of a six-man rotation or otherwise bide our time before Tom Gorzelanny is either DL’d with a sore pinky or sent to the pen. I don’t put that much stock in pitchers’ win-loss records, but I believe MLB coaching staffs still do – and the 6-0, multimillion dollar Carlos Silva ain’t goin’ anywhere. Nor are Demp, Lilly or Wells.

Andrew Cashner: Still not leaving Iowa anytime soon. In a related story, there’s been some chatter in the baseball press that the Cubs simply must put Cash Money, who’s dominating in Triple A, in their rotation this season. Well, er, no they don’t. And with the rotational gridlock that’s still in progress, we’re going to have to wait a little longer to see the Pacific Coast League’s Player of the Week. My guess – and it pains me to say this – is that Ted Lilly will be allowed to walk after his contract ends this season and Cashner will take his spot in the rotation heading into 2011. The future is now, folks.

Ricketts buy Sheffield Ave. rooftop. On Friday, the news broke that the Ricketts family bought an interest in a rooftop seating business located at the top of building on Sheffield Ave. The move could be seen as the final move in the Cubs “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” relationship with the rooftop owners over these many years.

Hey, maybe the Cubs aren’t so bad at drafting. Johnathan “Hold The” Mayo of MLB.com posted a study yesterday of which MLB teams have done the best over the years at drafting young talent. Cynical Cubs fans with visions of Corey Patterson dancing whiffing in their heads might assume we’re at the bottom of the list. But you might be surprised how high the Cubs ranked. Off the top of my head, I’d guess they fared well because of their pitching prospects over the years.

Want to buy some Wrigley dirt? Well, now you can. A company called Steiner Sports sells it in small vials. It’s too bad they don’t sell the dirt in bulk. I’d consider buying several tons, ripping all of the grass out of my lawn and then reseeding my yard with Wrigley dirt and Scotts Wrigley Field Grass Seed Mix.

On a related note, I had a dream last night that I was a member of a contingent of cheerleaders who run into the outfield during Cubs games and hurl baseballs and small bats into the Wrigley bleachers. It must’ve been my first day on the job, however, because, upon entering the field, I fell to my knees and screamed, “Oh my God – I’m actually on Wrigley Field!” Then I rubbed my hands in the grass, which was surprisingly damp and muddy. Perhaps they should check on that drainage system.

And, on that note, I bid you adieu.

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