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updated: 7/18/2011 10:59 PM

Time for Hendry to make some moves

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  • Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, center, leads the applause as starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez exits the game during the seventh inning Monday against the Phillies at Wrigley Field. Lopez pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits.

      Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, center, leads the applause as starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez exits the game during the seventh inning Monday against the Phillies at Wrigley Field. Lopez pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits.
    Associated Press

 
 

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was with the team's Class AAA affiliate Monday.

No, he didn't option himself there, as many disappointed Cubs fans might have liked. Hendry is spending three days with the I-Cubs, presumably to take a look at youngsters such as Brett Jackson, Ryan Flaherty and DJ LeMahieu.

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While Hendry was doing that, the big club was beating the Phillies and ace pitcher Roy Halladay 6-1. Halladay was beat by the heat as much as he was by the Cubs, as he left in the fifth inning on a 91-degree night at Wrigley Field.

Let's not get carried away, though.

With their victory, the Cubs "improved" all the way to 39-58, which puts them on pace to finish the season 65-97. The Phillies fell all the way to 59-36. They're in first place in the National League East as they cruise to their ninth straight winning season.

The Cubs, who cannot find the consistency the Phillies organization has found over the past decade, will have to retool.

So what Cubs fans should be hoping is that Hendry makes room on the plane and brings some of those kids back to Chicago with him.

That isn't going to happen now, but it could, and it should, in due time.

Now is the time for Hendry to cut bait and start moving some veterans -- and some money -- for some additional prospects.

It's been almost four weeks since Hendry's fireside chat in which he told the media at Wrigley Field that he would not be conducting a "fire sale." Since then, the Cubs have gone an underwhelming 7-10, including Monday's victory. Hendry also said he wanted to see how the club played once it got some of its people off the disabled list, including center fielder Marlon Byrd. Well, the Cubs are 5-9 since Byrd came back.

The Cubs aren't going to reach .500; they won't come anywhere close to it.

The nonwaiver trading deadline of July 31 is fast approaching and Hendry has some tradable commodities, including Byrd and first baseman Carlos Pena, who hit his 20th home run of the season Monday. That gave Pena 250 homers for his career and marked his fifth straight season of at least 20 homers. Some team out there probably wouldn't mind that.

The names of Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano have been in the news lately, but they'll be much tougher to move, because of contracts (Zambrano), no-trade clauses (Zambrano) and 10-and-5 rights (Ramirez).

In the meantime, the Cubs still have a lot of games to play. They defied the odds Monday night with Rodrigo Lopez (2-2, 3.55 ERA) getting the best of Halladay.

"Sometimes those numbers I look at all day that make you believe you've got some guys who can hit a guy like Halladay, they don't lie," said manager Mike Quade. "Real nice night offensively. I can't say enough about Rodrigo ... That's why you play 'm. It's why you show up every day optimistic in spite of the struggles."

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