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Cubs' coaches invited back; Harden decision coming
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/7/2008 12:04 AM

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The off-season began Monday for the Cubs, with general manager Jim Hendry returning to work at Wrigley Field after his team was swept out of the playoffs by the Dodgers.

Hendry will have some housekeeping items to deal with this week. All of field manager Lou Piniella's coaches have been invited back for 2009, and Hendry will meet with them this week.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild is the most high-profile among the coaches, and he survived two years under Piniella, who can be hard on both pitchers and pitching coaches.

The other coaches are Alan Trammell (bench), Matt Sinatro (first base), Mike Quade (third base), Gerald Perry (batting) and Lester Strode (bullpen). Ivan DeJesus is a special assistant who is in uniform before games.

By Wednesday, the Cubs must decide whether to exercise the $7 million club option on pitcher Rich Harden. If the Cubs don't pick it up, Harden does not become a free agent. Instead, he would becomes eligible for salary arbitration with the Cubs.

After the World Series, the Cubs must either pick up catcher Henry Blanco's $3 million option or give him a $300,000 buyout. The Cubs may opt for the buyout and then try to negotiate a lesser one-year deal for Blanco, who gets credit for helping to develop Rookie of the Year candidate Geovany Soto.

The Cubs' organization meetings begin Oct. 19 in Mesa, Ariz.