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The big question for the Cubs is where they go from here.
Optimism isn't hard to find around Wrigleyville these days even if the anticipation is more for what happens down the road than this season. The arrival of Epstein along with new general manager Jed Hoyer sparked hope among championship-starved fans, and they certainly have been busy. They hired Sveum to replace Mike Quade as manager, traded the troubled Carlos Zambrano to Miami and parted ways with sluggers Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.
They've made it clear they intend to stock the farm system while trying to remain competitive now. That might be a stretch for a team in transition even if there's new hope at the moment.
""There are dozens and dozens and dozens of people -- the players first of all -- working extremely hard to bring this organization forward," Epstein said.
NOTES: Noted Cubs fan Bill Murray had some fun before the game. He ran around the bases and threw the ball to Wood at home before sliding across the plate. He then bounced the ceremonial first pitch. Murray also said the Cubs would win every game before leading the seventh-inning rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." ... The Cubs held 1B Bryan LaHair out of the starting lineup because of a minor nerve issue in his back that's been bothering him the past few days. Jeff Baker started in his place. LaHair thinks he will be available off the bench Saturday and back in the lineup on Sunday. ... Matt Garza is scheduled to start Saturday for the Cubs against Gio Gonzalez. ... Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang (hamstring) and RHP Drew Storen (elbow) flew to Florida on Thursday to begin rehab at the spring training complex. Storen is already throwing off of the mound and Wang is 3-4 days away, manager Davey Johnson said. He expects them to be activated by the end of April.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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