MESA, Ariz. - Cubs general manager Jim Hendry won't be around camp the next two days.
He's headed for Florida and a seemingly unavoidable salary-arbitration hearing with shortstop Ryan Theriot. After making 500,000 last year, Theriot is seeking $3.4 million while the Cubs have offered $2.6 million.
"You never know," Hendry said of a possible settlement. "A lot of times, things are settled late. Other times, they're not. It's part of the business. All the other clubs have gone through it, for the most part, from time to time. We've settled 36 cases in a row under my regime or watch over the arbitration. So I think that speaks for itself, that we always try to do the right thing. Sometimes, you can't avoid the process."
Hendry added he expects no lingering ill feelings from a hearing. He and manager Lou Piniella said they also expect Theriot to be the opening-day shortstop, despite the talk about phenom Starlin Castro, who won't turn 20 until next month.
"I've known Ryan since his LSU days," Hendry said. "He's a good kid. He'll be an important part of the club this year. It's a matter of what side of the fence, business wise, you happen to be on right now. We'll get through it. Ryan Theriot's going to be playing on Opening Day here, and we need him to play well."
All charged up: Cubs president Crane Kenney is in Mesa to look at several possible sites for a new spring-training facility. There is vocal opposition, including from baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, to a possible spring-training ticket surcharge in the Cactus League to help fund the new complex.
The Cubs stress that the surcharge is not their idea.
"I think there are people who have other thoughts on the mechanism for funding the facility," Kenney said. "They're welcome to their opinion, and I think the legislators in Arizona and Mesa have one view, and others would like to use other facilities (methods of funding), some that have been used already, like ASTA (Arizona Sports Tourism Authority). We're going let the folks who do that for a living determine the best mechanism for financing the facility."
The Cubs and Mesa have a "memorandum of understanding" to keep the Cubs in Arizona.
Officials from Naples, Fla., made a serious bid for the Cubs and could re-enter the picture if legislation here falls apart.
"We, under the surcharge mechanism, would be the biggest taxpayer," Kenney said.
Injury updates: Relief pitchers Jeff Gray and Angel Guzman will be delayed at camp. Gray has a "mild groin strain," an injury he suffered recently in fielding practice.
Guzman, who has had a history of injuries, recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after he injured it in Venezuela.
Jim Hendry says neither injury should keep Gray and Guzman out for any serious length of time and would not jeopardize either for the start of the regular season.
Lefty Ted Lilly says he has no idea where a report came from that said he might not be ready until June. Lilly underwent minor shoulder surgery in November.
He played catch Wednesday and says he has been throwing from 120 feet.
Lou's take: Lou Piniella said last year's failure to make the playoffs was disappointing, but that not all was lost.
"It makes you hungrier as a manager, too," he said. "One thing I can tell you is that I was very proud of our team last year. We went through a lot, physically. At the same time, we held together. That's going to bode very well for this year, also because of the fact that we gave a lot of young people opportunities to play, and they're further along in the process. We won two divisions in a row. St. Louis last year really came on strong the second half of the year. We're ready to compete again this year. I like the changes that have been made here."