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Cubs GM Hendry liking what he sees
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/28/2009 11:21 PM

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There might have been a little extra bounce in the step of Cubs general manager before Tuesday night's game against the Astros at Wrigley Field.

"We're playing well," Hendry said. "Even since the break, the home games seem a lot like last year. The crowd was terrific yesterday. I don't think too many people left. I bet less than 10 percent of the people left by the 13th.

"Guys have been competing and hanging in there. Some of the games we won over the weekend and last night were the type we were losing earlier in the year. That's a good sign. The effort's been great."

For the second straight day, Hendry reported little progress in trade talks other than to say he spent most of the day waiting for other teams to call him back.

Left-handed relievers Joe Beimel and John Grabow remain possible targets. Hendry weighed in on other topics.

On left fielder Alfonso Soriano, whose 13th-inning grand slam Monday was the game-winner: "It's good to see guys like Sori, who had such a rough time, swinging it so well lately. It's part of the business. It's a tough game.

"You've got to keep grinding out and hanging in there until you get yourself out of it. I'm glad for him. He's really a much better teammate than the public perceives him. He really cares about winning."

On the return of third baseman Aramis Ramirez: "Nobody wanted to complain about injuries. Everybody gets them. I think we all do see now what a difference he makes, how it affected other people.

"We've had clubs here before where we lost a guy, it didn't seem to have the impact when that person came back. With him, it certainly has."

On the bullpen: "We have to be thrilled. When you throw the ball like the (Jeff) Stevens kid did last night, that was probably the highlight of the evening for me, including Sori's home run, because that kid has never been in that position before.

"It's different throwing pretty good in the Washington game when it's 10-2 or you're down 8-0 in Philly. He went after a darn good team last night in a 1-1 game in extra innings in front of 41,000 people.

"(Jeff) Samardzija's gotten a lot better in the last couple weeks. (Sean) Marshall's been terrific all year and so has (Angel) Guzman.

"Kevin Gregg has had a really good year, and for the most part, unfortunately, people want to remember a couple bad innings. He's 22 out of 25 and is really a durable kid who will take the ball three or four days in a row and want it."