2/21 Cubs notebook

* Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza will both pitch in the Cubs’ Cactus League opener Sunday against the Athletics. Ryan Dempster will start the regular season opener April 1 at Wrigley Field.

* Mike Quade talked to Tyler Colvin to make sure he’s comfortable at first base. Colvin has been doing drills there as well as working out with the outfielders. Said Quade: “What I physically see is great.” Expect to see Colvin starting at first about one week into Cactus League games.

*  Todd Wellemeyer will be looked at as both a starter and reliever, but most likely would make the Cubs’ roster as a reliever.

* Kerry Wood was back on the mound at Fitch Park, throwing to hitters. Said Quade: “He’s a favorite son here, so it’s always kind of special.”

* Reed Johnson was plunked on the elbow by Carlos Marmol during Sunday’s live BP session. Scott Rice had a tougher assignment. The left-hander had to face Quade in the batter’s box. Rice was one of the last to throw and all the hitters needed to go to coach Rudy Jaramillo’s meeting.

“This poor kid is left with nobody,” Quade said of Rice. “So, I grab a bat and I’ll get in there, let’s go. I’m in there for half a dozen pitches before I realize, this poor kid. First day on the mound against hitters, new organization, new manager, and I’m standing in there. He was doing fine. It didn’t dawn on me until [coach] Marty Mason said, ‘Fastball in, get the ball in.’ They gave me a heads up in case I want to bail, and the ball is left out over the middle of the plate.”

At that point, Quade told coaching instructor Marty Peavy to stand in.

“[I said], ‘He won’t care if he hits you,'” Quade said.

What was Rice thinking?

“I wanted to get it in there but the last thing I want to do is hit the manager,” Rice said. “I guess that’s the kind of pressure you’ll feel in games. You have to go in and do it and not think about who’s in there and make your pitch.”

Rice did admit it was in the back of his mind that it wasn’t just another hitter but the manager. What if he had hit him?

“It would’ve been funny for everyone else,” Rice said.

– Carrie Muskat

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