04/14/12 8:07 PM ET
DeJesus doing job as Cubs' leadoff man
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Since Tuesday, DeJesus is 7-for-17 (.412) with a .556 on-base percentage and has scored seven runs. The right fielder also has a six-game hitting streak. He's not the only one on a roll. Starlin Castro is 8-for-17 (.471) and has scored four runs in that period.
DeJesus and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo found a timing device at the end of Spring Training that seemed to help.
"As much as anything, it's getting some hits and being relaxed and getting confident and not getting behind in the count as often," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "Confidence is everything in hitting. You put a few hits together and it'll just snowball."
Sveum had noticed some mechanical things with DeJesus' approach and suggested he keep his shoulders square. The right fielder isn't the only one.
"The last couple days, the whole lineup has done a good job," Sveum said.
Wood, Marmol finding groove after tough starts
ST. LOUIS -- Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol had a tough start in the first two games of the season, but since then, both have gotten on track. Cubs manager Dale Sveum wasn't worried.
"I think a lot of people were just [reacting] because of the first two days, but that's like a hitter going 0-for-8 in the first two games," Sveum said Saturday. "What are you going to do, take them out of the lineup? These things are part of the process.
"There's other people on the other side of the field who get paid a lot of money to score runs and beat your closer, and that's going to happen. I think Marmol has been pretty good so far, and Woody has been good, and I think he'll be better now that he's found his curveball again. You keep him fresh and ready."
Since giving up three runs in the first two games, Marmol has had three scoreless relief appearances, including one inning on Friday. Wood walked three on Opening Day but has not walked a batter in his last three games. On Wednesday, he struck out the side against the Brewers.
"Just being able to have his curveball in the back of his mind [helps]," Sveum said of Wood. "It's just a matter of confidence. He changed a few mechanical things, and he's back to being able to use his curveball."
First-base coach Dave McKay received his World Series ring from the 2011 championship season with the Cardinals, got a hug from former manager Tony La Russa, and then headed back to the dugout where he was greeted by applause from the Cubs players.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum wanted his players in the dugout to salute the World Series champion Cardinals and McKay.
And where will the ring go? McKay said he keeps them in a safe deposit box at home.
Sveum will keep an eye on Bryan LaHair's swing. LaHair's grand slam on Friday was an opposite-field blast, which is what the Cubs want to see more of.
"Hitting a ball like that to the opposite field is what his game is," Sveum said. "I think he gets in trouble when he gets to looking inside, pulling the baseball. He's got to stay within his game."
Ian Stewart hit his first home run with the Cubs on Friday, and Sveum predicts more from the third baseman as well.
"He has been impressive because he hasn't had a lot of poor at-bats," Sveum said. "He's done the same thing this season and had some great at-bats against left-handed pitching. The guy can hit, he's strong, he has incredible power. If he can keep his confidence going, it'll be everything for him as well as our lineup."
More than 7,000 runners participated Saturday in the 7th Annual Race to Wrigley presented by AthletiCo. The runners raised money to benefit Chicago Cubs Charities and Children's Memorial Hospital.
"The annual Race to Wrigley has become one of the most popular 5K runs in Chicago," said Mike Lufrano, Cubs executive vice president of community affairs. "These contributions help the race support so many in need throughout the Chicago area."
The course route began under the famed Wrigley Field marquee and led runners through the Lakeview neighborhood and inside the ballpark's concourse before finishing at the corner of Clark and Addison streets.
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.