07/30/11 5:04 PM ET
Cubs prepared if viable deal presents itself
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"I don't know what the speculation or the rumors are," Quade said Saturday. "I don't sense anyone is teetering or wondering what's going on."
There was a report that the Pirates inquired about Carlos Pena, but the Cubs didn't want to move the first baseman.
"Maybe one or two things might happen," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "The goal was to move a few pieces that we knew weren't coming back. It didn't mean that they weren't good players. We did what we had to do with [Kosuke Fukudome] because we needed to let [Tyler] Colvin play the majority of time.
"I don't anticipate anything significant, but that could change by 3 o'clock [Sunday]," Hendry said. "With two days left, the dominoes sometimes fall differently. We'll be prepared if something helps us, and if not, nothing else you can do about it."
The Cubs did make a move Thursday, sending Fukudome to the Indians for two Minor League players.
Struggles not changing Quade's perspective
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs began play on Saturday a season-low 22 games below .500. Manager Mike Quade said he doesn't feel any more pressure at this point in the season with two months remaining than he did at the start.
Asked if he's managing to keep his job, Quade said Saturday: "I feel like that every day."
When he took over last August and the Cubs went 24-13, there was optimism.
"You come here to solve problems, to teach, to make the best decisions you can make, to stay involved with your club," Quade said. "I've come from a long line of one-year contracts. The idea of people being 'day to day' when they're hurt, I've always thought that was the case. I don't feel any more or less like that.
"I come here to try to do the best I can every day. Everybody's doing that, but to stay involved and make sure you're on top of everything and address things, that's all I can do as a manager."
The Cubs weren't picked to win the National League Central this season, but they certainly didn't expect to be 15 1/2 games back.
"I take it personal," Quade said. "I'm disappointed that the record's not better. There's things I'm pleased with, there are things I'm not.
"When the blame game starts, you can't sit in this seat and not take some of it, there's just no way. I understand that. Me sitting here and cowering because of that is absurd. You attack every day."
The Cubs swept the Astros last weekend for their first three-game win streak of the season and have lost four in a row heading into Saturday's contest against the Cardinals. They're batting .246 since the All-Star break compared with .263 in the first half; and this month, they're 8-16. Quade looks on the bright side.
"There's too many things that go into this for me to say, 'We're not this, we're not that,'" he said. "It's more important that I go, 'We can be this, we can be that.'"
Soriano trying to improve mental approach
ST. LOUIS -- Alfonso Soriano is eager to turn the calendar.
The Cubs left fielder was batting .179 in July, and was 2-for-12 on the road trip before Saturday's game. He took a big step toward turning things around in the first inning, when he hit a three-run homer off St. Louis' Kyle Lohse, his 16th of the season.
Physically, Soriano is fine. The problem is mental.
"It's the way we're losing, the way we play, too many negative things," Soriano said. "I'm trying to do too much. That's bothering me a little bit. I've got to be strong enough to put those things away and do my job."
The problem isn't a lack of work, said Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who is trying to get Soriano to trust himself more.
"He tries too hard sometimes, he tries to do too much," Jaramillo said Saturday. "He doesn't give in as far as his preparation and getting ready, but when game time comes, you have to be more in control of your emotions.
"We keep talking about it and keep working on it, and he has to make the adjustment. He's real honest and real coachable. He's such a likable person. But when you're in the box, you're on your own and you have to trust yourself."
Jaramillo said if Soriano is pulling the ball most of the time, he's not focusing on hitting the ball up the middle or the other way.
"A new month is coming," Soriano said.
Happy with attitude, Quade encourages Garza
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Garza has not won since June 27 and is 0-2 with a 3.82 ERA in his last six starts. After Garza took a loss to the Cardinals on Friday, Cubs manager Mike Quade met with the right-hander (4-8, 3.99 ERA) and told him to not change a thing.
"His mindset is about as good as it can be," Quade said Saturday. "My appeal to him was just to keep getting better pitching."
It's not the first time Garza has had a month without a win. It happened in August 2009 with the Rays, too. Quade said Garza has a good attitude. Hopefully, in his next start, he'll get more run support.
"Given his future here, that's exactly the approach he needs to take," Quade said. "I'd love to see a 'W' but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's put together a ton of quality starts, and he's been a good pitcher for us and given us a chance to win on numerous occasions."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.