CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry returned to Chicago from two days of interviews with Triple-A Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg in Mesa, Ariz. Hendry said the time with Sandberg was well spent but at the same time, Hendry is impressed with the performance of interim manager Mike Quade since taking over when Lou Piniella retired.
"I still got some more people to see," Hendry said. "I'll hopefully work on that over the next couple of weeks and then try and regroup."
Quade will get his interview with Hendry after the season ends. The Cubs have gone 18-9 under Quade.
"Outstanding," Hendry said of Quade's performance. "I'm very pleased with how he has run the club and how he has handled himself. The players are playing hard for him. It's a very positive environment that is going on in our locker room, and it's a very solid blend of using the veterans properly and getting the kids the development that we need to see at the end of the season. It's very positive. He's doing an outstanding job."
Hendry also spent time with special assistant Greg Maddux in Mesa and discussed the process of hiring a manager with him. Maddux played with Sandberg and Yankees manager Joe Girardi during his Cubs career. Girardi's name has come up on many occasions as a possible wild-card candidate for the Cubs job. Girardi is in the last year of his contract with the Yankees.
Hendry was unaware of any injuries that third baseman Aramis Ramirez had incurred early in the season that prevented him from playing up to his usual standard in the first half of the season. A Chicago Sun-Times story on Thursday had Ramirez quoted saying that other injuries had effected his play early in the season."[Trainer] Mark O'Neil is always on top of everything," Hendry said. "When [Ramirez] did have the start that he had, it was so out of character that he possibly had some issues he tried to play through and maybe he wasn't successful at it. Maybe there were some things that he and Mark worked on that I wasn't aware of. He might be nicked up but not really injured."
Ramirez sustained a thumb injury that affected his play during the middle half of the season, but he has been able to battle through it having a better than average second half.
Having come from the Oakland Athletics organization earlier in his career, Quade is well aware of how important on-base percentage is with a team's offensive production. That said, the Cubs have the second-fewest walks in the National League, averaging less than three a game."I always hate to group the team," Quade said. "You take a look at the individuals and see what's being done. I don't think we want [Geovany] Soto to do much more than he's done. You have to look at all of that on an individual basis. We have a pretty darn good hitting guy [Rudy Jaramillo]. It would take me some time to go over [walks and on-base percentage]. You're always happy with patience, but somebody has got to drive the ball into the gaps and out of the ballpark. But anything we can do to improve out on-base percentage to help score runs is what we need to do."
Quade is not sure if Carlos Silva will pitch again this season. Quade was asked if Silva would be available at any time over the next 10 games even out of the bullpen. "I'd never rule it out. But I think we'd rule on the side of caution."Silva returned to the Cubs on Sept. 4 after missing more than a month because of a heart problem.
Second baseman Jeff Baker was a late scratch from the lineup due to flu-like symptoms.