MIAMI -- Online balloting begins Friday for the 83rd All-Star Game, and Cubs fans can vote for their favorite players. The ballot was announced on Thursday, and Cubs players include first baseman Bryan LaHair, second baseman Darwin Barney, shortstop Starlin Castro, third baseman Ian Stewart, catcher Geovany Soto and outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and David DeJesus.
Castro was the Cubs' lone All-Star representative last year. LaHair, Stewart, Barney and DeJesus have never made an All-Star team. Soriano played in seven straight, starting in 2002. Byrd represented the Cubs in '10, and Soto was on the '08 team.
The All-Star Game will be played on July 10 in Kansas City.
Volstad returns to Miami as a visitor
MIAMI -- The Cubs' three-game series in Miami was a homecoming for Chris Volstad, who was traded by the Marlins to Chicago in January for Carlos Zambrano."The weird part is being in a hotel like it's another road trip in a different state, city, whatever," Volstad said, "because this is close to where I grew up, and my family is right around the corner and this is where I used to play." Well, not exactly where Volstad played. When he was with the Marlins, they played their home games at the NFL's Miami Dolphins' home field. A native of nearby Palm Beach Gardens, Volstad had plenty of family at the games. He used to rent a place in Fort Lauderdale during the season. "Being in Florida and not being in one of those two places is kind of weird," he said. What does he think of the new Marlins Park? "It's definitely Miami," he said. "It's definitely needed, and it's nice. It's a great place to play."
Cubs hope Soriano learns from defensive lapse
MIAMI -- In the sixth inning Wednesday, the Marlins had a runner at second when Donnie Murphy blooped a ball into shallow left. Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano fielded it but didn't throw it quickly back into the infield. Murphy hustled to second and got a double from what should've been a single."It was [Murphy's] hustle, but we could've done a lot of things differently," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after the game. "We have to get the ball and get the ball to second base. 'Sori' knows that, and he knows he made a mistake and took something for granted there." Murphy scored on a sacrifice fly, part of a three-run inning in the Marlins' 9-1 win. Sveum and outfield coach Dave McKay both said something to Soriano about the play. "It was a little lapse of what Dave's been talking about -- get the ball and get it to somebody else right away," Sveum said on Thursday. "That didn't happen, and then obviously we got it to the wrong person. That's just taking something for granted. Hopefully, that's the last time that happens." Soriano has played better defense this season. This was just a blip. "He's been going after balls down the line this year and doing a heck of a lot better," Sveum said. "It wasn't being lazy. He took a routine base hit for granted, and the guy caught him on it."
Epstein on top of Draft due diligence
MIAMI -- Theo Epstein has been spending a lot of time at high school and college baseball games to prepare for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, which will begin on June 4.The Cubs have the sixth overall pick, plus two selections in the supplemental round. "I go out every year and see at least 15 to 20 guys a year to stay current and stay on top of it," said Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations. "It also gives me a chance to get to know our scouts, too." Don't the kids recognize him in the stands? "I stay pretty incognito," he said.
Cubs place Wood on DL with shoulder fatigue
MIAMI -- On Friday, the Cubs got a status report on pitcher Kerry Wood, who got a cortisone shot in his right shoulder this week. It was then decided to place the veteran reliever on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue."I think we'll all feel better when he's feeling better," said Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations on Thursday. "We'll try to nip it in the bud and get him strong. There's a long season ahead." Wood had not pitched since Friday in St. Louis. He has appeared in four games this season, with a blown save and a loss. He received the shot on Wednesday in Chicago.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.