Cubs hope for fast start by Ramirez

Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo are trying to come up with a plan to help veterans like Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano make sure they have enough live in-game hitting during spring training in order to start the season on a high note.

"I talked to Rudy today, and one of the things we try to do is plan ahead," Quade said. "We want to target how many at-bats that we want. It's important we come up with a game plan. Let's look at what you've done in the past. I've taken a look at last year's at-bats, just in order to put together a program."

The proactive Cubs manager is trying to avoid the slow start Ramirez had last year. He had four home runs and 20 RBIs in the first two months.

  • The Cubs manager is looking forward to his first meeting with the entire roster on Saturday, when he gives his state-of-the-Cubs speech to the full squad. An expected rain storm may give him extra time.

    "Maybe that will give me a chance to lay a little bit of direction," Quade said. "I'd like to see us do both physical and technical work."

    Asked if he liked team meetings and giving speeches in his past managerial tenure, Quade said: "No, not really. The best thing in the world is if I don't talk to you. That means things are going really good. We will ask them to buckle up. No, I'm not a meetings type guy."

    Quade said owner Tom Ricketts, GM Jim Hendry and the entire baseball staff will be introduced during the Saturday morning meeting.