Bears

Dempster, Soriano looking on the bright side

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Dempster, Soriano looking on the bright side

ST. LOUIS The Cubs are nearing the quarter mark. Their Opening Day starter doesnt have a win yet. The only established power hitter still hasnt homered.

That doesnt tell the entire story. But the Cubs are hanging around and havent been buried by a brutal early schedule. If you are relentlessly optimistic, like Ryan Dempster and Alfonso Soriano, you believe it all balances out and things will turn around.

The Cubs were pumping the music in the clubhouse after Mondays 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.

Baby steps, Dempster said. We got a win when I started a game.

Theres no chance Dempster (1.74 ERA) would ever complain publicly about the lack of run support. But heres what the Cubs put on the scoreboard in his first five starts this season: one; three; two; one; one. Thats pretty much going to be the trend line with this lineup.

Thats why manager Dale Sveum wont move Soriano down, because theres really no one else to take his place in the middle of the order right now. Soriano came through in the eighth inning with a two-out single to left, which marked his sixth go-ahead RBI this season.

Im happy with what I do for the team, Soriano said. Im not hitting with the power, but I think (part of its) the knee. When the team needs a big hit, Im there. I know that my power is coming sooner or later.

Soriano sat at his locker with his left knee all wrapped up.

One day its good, one day its bad, Soriano said. Like I joke with my teammates, Im a warrior. I want to play every day no matter what.

Im not 25 anymore. I have to play through the pain.

Dempster just turned 35, but hasnt shown his age. By the sixth inning, he had allowed four runs all season and had a four-run lead he immediately gave away.

The Cardinals (20-15) responded with four runs, and thats the way its gone for the staffs leader. Hes now winless in his last 15 starts dating back to Aug. 16 of last season.

I feel bad for him, because hes been so good for the team and hes not getting the win, Soriano said. I hope the next time we score a lot of runs and we can get (it) for him. But hes pitched so good so far.

The Cubs have now won four of seven games against the defending World Series champs.

This is a weakened National League Central. The Cubs, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers are tied for last place at 15-20. The Cincinnati Reds are the only other team in the division above .500.

We got as good a shot as anybody else, pitcher Matt Garza said. Were (five) back in the division and we played like crap the first three weeks of the season. Were putting it together. Youre going to go through growing pains with youth, and we certainly are.

(Theres) going to be a lot of mistakes, a lot of growing pains, but I think were good enough and mentally strong enough to get through it.

The Cubs have a new dimension on offense with Tony Campana, who stole another base and scored two more runs. Bryan LaHair sent his ninth home run soaring, a two-run shot that traveled 356 feet, just inside the right-field foul pole.

After reaching a breaking point with Carlos Marmol whose meltdown on May 3 in Cincinnati ruined a brilliant Dempster start and cost him the closers job the Cubs have stabilized the ninth inning.

Rafael Dolis threw nine pitches, eight for strikes, and picked up his fourth save, making it all look stress-free.

If you are a Cubs fan, you have to wonder where they could be if they had really capitalized on their lights-out starting pitching, and what might happen if it regresses just a little bit. Dempster never thinks that way.

Were pitching really well, Dempster said. Were playing good defense and were running the bases extremely aggressive and were getting the results because of it. Hopefully, those just keep coming and we keep playing good baseball and climb our way back to .500.

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

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USA TODAY

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

After producing one-liners as amusing as “I’m looking to do the exact opposite of work,” in his reality TV debut, Jay Cutler was at it again.

The former Bears quarterback had more gems to offer in the second episode of his wife’s reality show, “Very Cavallari.” Cutler’s general apathy towards, well, everything continued.

In one of the more unintentionally funny lines of the show, Kristin Cavallari, Cutler’s wife and the star of the show, said Cutler has no game. Keep the giggles to yourselves, Bears fans.

She wistfully talked about how much fun the couple used to have early in their relationship until Cutler cut her off and said “You decided to go to bed at 8:45 every night.”

“He can be a little s*** sometimes, but he makes me laugh,” Kristin Cavallari said of her husband on the show.

That line might be something Bears fans can relate to.

While the show has plenty of your standard reality show drama, Cutler’s scenes are a humorous change of pace. The way things are going, Cutler could be in for a bigger part. In the meantime, maybe Bears fans will skip around until Cutler appears on camera.

Who knew? Bears fans, Kristin. All Bears fans knew.

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

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USA Today

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith won't be reporting to Bourbonnais with the rest of the team's rookie class Monday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. His absence won't be considered a holdout until veterans are required to report on July 19.

Smith is among several top-10 picks without a contract but is the first who will grab headlines. Chicago's training camp starts earlier than most this year because of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game on August 4. The extra week of camp makes Smith's contract status less concerning, even if it spills into the first few practices.

Still, we aren't too far removed from Joey Bosa's lengthy contract dispute with the Los Angeles Chargers that centered around offset language and his signing bonus.

Generally speaking, teams want offset language in rookie contracts as protection in the event they decide to cut a player in his fourth season. If the contract doesn't include offset language, the player is entitled to all of the money in that fourth season from his original team while also eligible to sign elsewhere. Teams don't want to pay that money while the player wants the ability to double dip.

This is one of the few issues that can result in a holdout now that the rookie wage scale is in place. Smith, most likely, isn't arguing over dollars. Instead, it's about contract language, which can get dicey.

We'll know more about how far apart the Bears and Smith are on his contract come July 19, when this disagreement will officially become a holdout.