CHICAGO -- The Cubs have agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Simpson, pending a physical, and the right-handed pitcher could sign this weekend.Simpson, who was the 16th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft out of Southern Arkansas, was expected to undergo a physical this weekend in Chicago. A formal announcement could come Saturday. Simpson was 13-1 with a 1.81 ERA in his junior season at the Division II school. He had six complete games in his 15 starts and struck out 131 in 99 1/3 innings while walking 35. Recommended by area scout Jim Crawford, Simpson was projected to be taken somewhere between the second and fifth rounds. Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken liked the right-hander's bulldog attitude, especially after watching him strike out 13 in a shutout against Florida Southern in the Southern Regional tournament. Simpson did not walk a batter in that game. He's the second pitcher Wilken has tabbed in the first round since joining the Cubs in December 2005. The other was Andrew Cashner, the Cubs' top pick in 2008, who is now on the Major League team. Simpson throws a four-seam fastball up to 97 mph, a circle change, a slider and a 12-6 curveball. He says his best pitch is his slider, but scouts like the knee-buckling curve the wiry right-hander has. The Cubs have agreed to terms with 11 of their picks from the June Draft, including Hunter Ackerman, taken in the fourth round out of Louisburg College.
Lilly lends hand to Wells
CHICAGO -- After Randy Wells has had tough starts, one of the first people to seek him out is Cubs lefty Ted Lilly, who learned early that it helps to talk about pitching."I don't talk to him just because he's a younger guy," Lilly said on Thursday. "[Wells] is like me in that he's always interested in learning more about the game. That's one thing I have learned is that I'll never have all the information. "It seems like he has the same approach and he's open to new thoughts. That doesn't mean you change your approach or anything like that. He's done well here, and for the most part he knows what he needs to do. Just being a human being, you get off track from time to time." After Wells was roughed up on May 6 by the Pirates, he and Lilly went for a run the next day in Cincinnati, going up and down the steps at Great American Ball Park. When Lilly first came up, he got advice from Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. "They were both really open and easy to talk to," he said. "I benefited from those two guys quite a bit." When he went to Oakland, he could talk baseball with Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. In Toronto, he was on the same staff as Roy Halladay and watched how he went about his business. Lilly also seeks out Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild. "There are things Larry is more on top of, especially some of the mechanical stuff," Lilly said. "He pays close attention to what we're doing and he watches hours and hours of our video. He's going to be much more able to dissect something than I would because he pays such close attention to that side of it." Cubs manager Lou Piniella gave Rothschild credit for the work he's done and for spotting something in Wells' delivery out of the stretch. "Wells is a competitive kid and he wants to do well and he pushes himself," Piniella said.
Ramirez to rehab in Peoria this weekend
CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb, will make rehab starts Saturday and Sunday at Class A Peoria.Ramirez has tested his thumb and a new grip the last three days during batting practice at Wrigley Field. He has been sidelined since June 8. Ramirez was batting .168 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 47 games.
Piniella likes Cubs' chances with the wind
CHICAGO -- No offense to pitchers, but Lou Piniella wants to see offense and lots of it.Given a choice of watching a 10-6 Cubs win or a 1-0 pitchers' duel, he'll take hits. "I like to see hitting in a baseball game," Piniella said on Thursday. "I think the fans like to see hitting in a baseball game. Now, if you're going to go watch a Sandy Koufax pitch or Fergie Jenkins, a great pitcher, you want to see what he does best. "If you come to the ballpark and you want to have a few beers and eat a few hot dogs, you want to get up and down your seats a few times. You want to see some action." That doesn't mean he didn't like Ted Lilly's 1-0 win Sunday over the White Sox. But Piniella is keeping an eye on the scoreboard flags at Wrigley Field. If they're blowing out, you can usually expect more offense. So far this season, the wind has blown out for five games and the Cubs have scored 34 runs for an average of 6.8 runs per game. When it's blowing in, which it has done for 23 contests at home, they have scored 85 runs for an average of 3.7. There's been a crosswind for four games, which means the wind blows from the southeast or northwest, and the Cubs have scored 20 runs in those. "We have a fly-ball-hitting team here in a lot of ways, and it doesn't really help when the wind is blowing in a lot," Piniella said. "It helps the other team, too, we understand that [when the wind blows out]. We don't have the quickest team, so getting the ball up in the air and letting it sail into the stands or over these stands, it's good for us."
Sweet Lou digs Theriot's bobblehead garb
CHICAGO -- The Cubs fans who arrived early at Wrigley Field Thursday weren't the only ones who got a Ryan Theriot bobblehead. So did Cubs manager Lou Piniella."When I get home, I'm going to put it right in my boat and it'll remind me of Theriot every time I go fishing," Piniella said on Thursday. Theriot's bobblehead is unique because he's not in baseball gear but instead is outfitted for a fishing trip, wearing boots, a vest and large hat complete with fishing lures. He's standing in a yellow boat with a pole. There aren't any fish in the boat, though. "He hasn't wet a line yet," Piniella said. Theriot said he also has a bobblehead from his days in Lansing, Mich., with the Class A Lugnuts.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.