CHICAGO -- Derrek Lee begins a new phase of his life with the Braves on Friday. But in nearly seven seasons with the Cubs, he must have some inkling as to why the team hasn't won a World Series since 1908.
"I think, bottom line, it still comes down to getting the right group of guys together," Lee said Wednesday after he was dealt to the Braves for three Minor League pitchers. "You look at '08 and we had a great team. We just didn't play well at the right time."
That 2008 Cubs team won 97 games, posting the best record in the National League. But they went 0-3 in the playoffs, losing to the Dodgers.
"It's about putting the right team together and then playing good baseball at the right time for that four weeks in October or whatever it is," Lee said. "You start looking further than that and you make it more complicated than it needs to be."
Lee was on a World Series championship team in 2003, when the Marlins won it all. They beat the Cubs in the National League Championship Series to get there. Lee's heard about the Cubs' history. That could be the problem, too.
"Having to hear about losing, it kind of puts you in a negative environment, and I don't think that's conducive to winning," Lee said. "You want a little more positive energy going on.
"But I also think everyone understands that when they come here. That's what you're going to hear until the team wins. That's one of the enticing things about coming here. You want to be on that team that finally breaks the so-called curse."
If Lou Piniella had led the Cubs to the World Series, the city might have renamed Michigan Avenue after him. Instead of celebrating Piniella Parkway, he will retire after this season. Is it tough to win in Chicago when you only hear about losing?
"It's not easy," Piniella said. "It's not easy, to be honest with you. It's not easy."
Williams honored by statue placement
CHICAGO -- Billy Williams was honored when he heard the news that his statue would be placed on the corner of Addison and Sheffield streets near Wrigley Field.
"I said that's a nice gesture," the Hall of Fame outfielder said Wednesday about the Cubs' decision to put his bronze there and move the statue of broadcaster Harry Caray down the street to the corner of Sheffield and Waveland avenues.
The Caray statue was dedicated in April 1998, a few months after his death. The Cubs are finalizing details regarding a possible re-dedication ceremony for Caray's family, which would be held sometime during the next homestand that begins Aug. 30.
Caray often conducted his broadcasts from the sun-drenched bleachers, and now his likeness will be closer to them.
Williams' statue will be unveiled Sept. 7. The bronze was being sculpted by Lou Cella from the Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Art Studio, who also did Caray's statue as well as the Ernie Banks bronze at the corner of Clark and Addison streets, outside of Wrigley's main entrance.
"They said they wanted to split us up," Williams said of the statues of Banks and himself. "It's going to be a nice location -- you come off Addison and it's right off the 'L.'"
Williams has seen a prototype of the bronze, which, of course, will have him swinging.
Grabow's season over, but work isn't
CHICAGO -- John Grabow's season is done after his left knee gave out on him during a rehab appearance in Mesa, Ariz., but he's not finished helping the Cubs this year.
Grabow said Wednesday he will stay in the bullpen to counsel, offer tips, provide a few jokes and do whatever he can. The Cubs currently have seven rookie pitchers on the roster.
"I'm going to try to stay on some kind of routine," Grabow said. "I'll be down there to give morale support to the guys."
Grabow has a sprained left knee and has decided not to have surgery. He will keep his knee immobilized for four to six weeks, then begin a rehab program to strengthen it.
"If this were 20 years ago, they would've gone in and tried to fix it," he said. "If they don't have to go in there and cut me up, that's OK with me."
Grabow appeared in 28 games with the Cubs, posting a 7.36 ERA in 25 2/3 innings.
Soto, Silva working their way back
CHICAGO -- Cubs catcher Geovany Soto hit off a batting tee for the second day Wednesday and has yet to take batting practice, but he is on schedule to be activated Sunday from the disabled list.
Soto hit off the tee for the first time since going on the disabled list Aug. 7 with a sprained ligament in his right shoulder.
"I think as far as Geo's concerned, he's on track for Sunday, unless there's a setback," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Wednesday.
Pitcher Carlos Silva, hoping to return to the rotation after undergoing a procedure to correct an abnormal heart rate, threw 40 pitches on the side Wednesday. It was his second bullpen session since he had the cardiac ablation on Aug. 9.
Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild was to meet with the medical staff to discuss the next step for Silva (10-5, 3.92 ERA), which most likely will include a Minor League rehab start.
Dawson to be honored at Wrigley on Aug. 30
CHICAGO -- The Cubs will honor new Hall of Famer Andre Dawson on Aug. 30 at Wrigley Field.
Dawson, who won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1987 with the Cubs, was inducted into Cooperstown last month. He will receive a special gift during an on-field ceremony prior to the Cubs' game against the Pirates.
In addition, Mayor Richard Daley has officially proclaimed Aug. 30 as "Andre Dawson Day" in Chicago. The first 10,000 fans entering the ballpark for the game will receive commemorative caps, compliments of the Cubs and The PrivateBank.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.