Tag Archive | "Tyler Colvin"

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Cubs Outfielder Brett JacksonWill Not Participate in Arizona Fall League 2010 – Wrigley Field 11/8/10

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Lou

The Cubs top outfield prospect – Brett Jackson – will not participate in the Arizona Fall League as expected.  Jackson was diagnosed with a calf infection and doctors feel that shutting him down is in his best interests.  Jackson was the Cubs top pick in the 2009 Draft.  He had dealt with a heel injury for Team USA earlier this year, but GM Jim Hendry has said that the calf injury is unrelated.  Jackson is expected to make a full recovery and Hendry is not worried that this will set him back in his development in the least.  Hendry confirmed that Jackson has played plenty of ball the last 18 months and that he will be ready for Spring Training 2011.  It is unlikely that Jackson will make the major league roster coming out of spring training, but look for Jackson to have an impact soon a la Tyler Colvin…

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Barry Zito for Alfonso Soriano – Good Idea that Likely Won’t Happen

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Lou

Start the rumor mill – Alfonso Soriano traded to the San Francisco Giants is the latest rumor to hit the blocks despite the fact that the Giants are in the World Series.  Sure Zito was left off the Giants’ playoff roster and is still owed $64 under his contract (which includes a buyout of $7 million for the 2014 MLB season), but that doesn’t mean that the Giants want to get rid of him.  Overall, Zito went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 33 starts. But after a win on July 16th, Zito lost 10 of his last 11 decisions in 15 starts.  Not a good trend at the end of the season as the innings piled up for Zito.

While health has always been an issue for Zito, as of late, the 32-year old has been relatively healthy with 180 innings pitched in 2008; 192 innings pitched in 2009 and 199 1/3 innings pitched in 2010.  Not bad at all.  He has only won 29 games during that span, but a change of scenery could help the lefty.  He has started twice at Wrigley Field, going 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA.  He has a 5.22 ERA in 40 starts against NL Central teams during his career.

Money-wise, it comes out fairly even — Soriano is owed $72 million over the next 4 years.  But the key hold up could be the fact that each player holds a full no-trade clause.  So it would take both players’ consent before any deal could get done.

I’m ready for Soriano to be gone.  It would put to bed the idea of Tyler Colvin moving to 1st base and it would also encourage GM Jim Hendry to make a move to sign Adam Dunn this winter or start working on Tom Ricketts to get ready to open up his checkbook to sign either Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder next off-season.  But this just doesn’t seem like the right fit.  I’m still convinced that Hendry should try his hardest to work the Yankees to take Soriano off the Cubs hands.  The Yankees missed out on the World Series and they could use a designated hitter like Soriano who still has some pop left in his bat.  Throw in $5 million a year for the Yankees to take Soriano without asking for too much back from the Yankees, and the Yankees would likely think a $12 million DH is a bargain.  Soriano used to play for the Yankees too, so it’s clear he can  handle the bright lights of the Big Apple…

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Tyler Colvin Update — Recovery from Collapsed Lung

Posted on 18 October 2010 by Lou

Tyler Colvin’s stellar 2010 campaign abruptly ended when he suffered a chest laceration and collapsed lung courtesy of a splintered bat at the end of September.  Colvin’s recovery has been smooth and he is getting ready for his wedding and honeymoon in November.  He does not expect any setbacks when he begins “Colvin Camp” after his return from his honeymoon – strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will lead the camp in Mesa, Arizona once again.  The Cubs have no plans to make Colvin play winter ball given his productive season and the need for him to continue building strength after his freak injury.

When Manager Lou Pinella finally gave Tyler Colvin the opportunity to play just about every day, he truly blossomed as a player.  A late season slump hurt his overall numbers, but you can’t complain with the rookie’s final 2010 numbers — 135 games, 358 at-bats, .254 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, 20 HR’s, 5 triples, 56 RBI’s and 60 runs scored.  He’ll have to work on his eye during the winter and in Spring Training 2011 so that he can improve that on-base percentage which is a little low – 3.16 because of 30 walks and a hefty 100 K’s.  Colvin just turned 25 in September, however, so he still has plenty of time to continue to mature and grow and get more and more comfortable at the plate each and every season. You also have to love the 6 steals in 7 attempts – it gives a glimpse of what is possible once he irons out the art of hitting.

Let’s hope GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move either Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano at some point during the off-season.  Fukudome will be the easier one to move because he only has 1 year left on his contract, but the Cubs will likely have to eat a good chunk of either player’s salary in any trade.  The Cubs will need Colvin to get at least 500 at-bats playing the outfield everyday if they expect for him to continue his development at the major league level at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

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Dunn on North Side in 2011 More of a Reality?!

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Lou

We wrote about Adam Dunn coming to the north side this off-season more because of the quotes from Carlos Zambrano indicating that he would love to have Dunn on the Cubs because of his big left-handed bat.  While it made a lot of sense from several perspectives, I wasn’t sure how likely it would be given the tenuous financial position that the Cubs are in – they had the highest payroll of any National League team in 2010, but only finished with 75 wins.

Now it looks like Dunn has the Cubs on his radar screen and the Cubs have Dunn high on their wish list.  But will it happen.  Dunn has averaged 40 HR’s and 100 RBI’s a season for each of the last 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.  At 31 years of age (by the start of the 2011 MLB season), those numbers will likely dip a little bit, but Dunn should still be a nice fit for the Cubs after the departure of Derrek Lee.  The Cubs need a left-handed bat to take some of the pressure off of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  Dunn is also durable – having missed just a total of 26 games during those 7 years.  Dunn also has good numbers at Wrigley Field – 25 HR’s in 66 games – tied for the most with Albert Pujols by any active player for the most home runs by an opponent at the Friendly Confines.  He has 41 career home runs against the Cubs, 2nd only to Pujols’ 47 for active players.  Sure he strikes out a lot – his 199 strikeouts in 2010 was the 2nd most in the major leagues – and his batting average is never great – .267 in 2009was his career-best – but he would be a major upgrade from Lee at 1st base.  His .358 career on-base percentage would fit nicely in the Cubs lineup as well.  How you would like to a see a projected lineup of – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Blake DeWitt?  If the Cubs can somehow move Soriano, you c ould see another average-type player in his place on a daily base which would be an upgrade as well.

GM Jim Hendry and Dunn do have some sort of personal relationship from over the years.  The Cubs couldn’t sign Dunn back in 2009 (when he signed a 2-year deal with the Nationals), because Derrek Lee was under contract until the end of the 2010 MLB season.  Makes sense that Dunn only signed a 2-year stint with the Nats, making look ahead to 2011 when the Cubs would be in the market for a 1st baseman.  The Nats never pulled the trigger on a trade to move Dunn this past July before the trading deadline, and their attempts to lure Dunn back at the end of the season went nowhere.  Dunn clearly won’t be back in DC – the question is will he end up playing for the Cubs and if so, how long of a deal will he get?

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At Last — 2010 MLB Season Finally Over – Cubs 0, Astros 4 – 10/3/10

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Lou

The disappointing 2010 MLB season is finally over for the Cubs.  They closed out the season with a 4-0 loss to the Astros in Houston.  They finished the season with an embarrassing 75-87 record, for a team with the highest payroll in the National League.  And for as bad as everything went down during the season, there were definitely some bright spots as the season wrapped up.

You have to like the following:

Starlin Castro will be a legitimate star at shortstop for years to come.

Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall formed one of the nastiest late game duos in the National League.

Carlos Zambrano pitched like the ace that he is paid to be for the final 2 months of the season.

Tyler Colvin showed that he can play every day in the outfield.

And while the young Cubs pitchers had their share of awful outings in 2010, they also got a ton of experience, which should help the organization at some point in the next few years (hopefully 1 or 2 can even stand out with a dominant campaign in 2011).

So despite the 75-87 record, finishing 16 games behind the 1st place Cincinnati Reds, all is not bad on the North Side of Chicago…

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Wells Disappointing Sophomore Season Continues on North Side – Cubs 0, Astros 4 – 9/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 September 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells’ disappointing sophomore season continued on the north side in Wednesday night’s 4-0 loss to the Astros.  Wells gave up 4 ER on 9 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  Although the Astros did not score more than 1 run in any inning, Wells always seemed to be working out of a jam.  This has become a much-too-familiar story for Wells all season long.  I really hope the new manager decides to part ways with Larry Rothschild.  Rothschild has been the Cubs pitching coach since the Dusty Baker days.  Lou Pinella kept him on when he took over 4 years ago.  Not one single pitcher has really emerged as a consistent baseball star coveted by other teams under his tutelage.  Pitchers have had a good year or 2 and then regressed or gotten injured on his watch.  It’s about time that the new manager bring in his own staff with some fresh ideas and how to develop some of these young pitchers coming up in the Cubs organization.

Bret Myers had another dominant effort against the Cubs.  Myers had a perfect game going until he walked Geovany Soto in the 5th inning.  The Cubs ended up getting just 5 hits and 1 walk in the game.  They had more than 1 runner on base in only 3 innings.  In the 5th, Alfonso Soriano singled after Soto’s walk, but both players were left stranded on base.  Tyler Colvin had a double in the 7th inning, but couldn’t score on Soto’s shallow single to left field.  Both runners were left stranded.  In the 8th inning, Starlin Castro and Blake DeWitt had back-to-back singles, but neither player scored.  All in all, it was not a good offensive showing by the Cubs.

After an off-day today, the Cubs embark on a 9-game road trip that will have them playing the Brewers in Milwaukee, the Cardinals in St. Louis and the Marlins in Florida.  Oh boy – what fun.  Do you think the Cubs will even draw a total of 30,000 fans for the 3-game weekend series in Miami next weekend?  I doubt it…

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Carlos Silva Returns to Mound – Not a Pretty Sight – Cubs 3, Astros 7 – 9/7/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Silva returned to the mound on Tuesday night and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  Not only did Silva look like he had put on a pound or two (or 10) during his stint on the DL, it didn’t like he wanted to be out there at all. After Silva gave up a run right away in the 1st inning, the Cubs rallied to give him a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning.  But Silva did his best to give it right back.  Silva gave up 3 more runs in the 2nd inning and was ultimately charged with 6 ER in 5 innings of work.  The light-hitting Astros knocked Silva around for 9 hits (including 1 home run) as they cruised to an easy victory.  Silva had not pitched since he left an August 1st game against the Colorado Rockies with an irregular heartbeat after recording just 1 out.  Silva had a cardiac ablation surgical procedure to correct the issue and made 2 Class A Peoria starts before pitching last night.  Silva said he felt OK — “I feel really good, especially after the second inning, I felt more comfortable on the mound, but the result wasn’t good at all.”  I know the Cubs want to make sure he is OK in 2010 so that they know what they have for the 2011 MLB season.  Silva could stay with the team or the Cubs could try to move him in the off-season if the price is right (the Cubs would likely have to eat some of the $10 million owed to him in 2011).  But it would be nice to see some of these other young guys get some starts instead of a veteran like Silva, especially if he really isn’t ready for live game action.

The Cubs offense didn’t do much against Nelson Figueroa after they scored 2 runs in the 1st inning.  Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome each had 2 hits in the loss.  Colvin had 2 RBI’s while Marlon Byrd drove in the Cubs other run and scored a run as well.

Thomas Diamond and James Russell bounced back from rough outings in Sunday’s 18-5 loss to the Mets.  Each reliever gave up 5 ER in the loss, but Diamond tossed 2 scoreless innings with 2 K’s last night and Russell worked a scoreless 9th inning with 1 K.

Mike Quade opted to keep Starlin Castro out of the Cubs lineup for a 2nd straight game.  I liked his move to keep Castro out on Monday, but 2 days in a row?  There’s only 20 odd games left in the season.  We want the shortstop star of the future to see as much MLB-action as possible in his rookie season.  Let’s get him back in the lineup Mike!

Randy Wells looks to get the Cubs their 3rd straight series win tonight at Wrigley Field.  It won’t be easy as the Cubs must go up against Bret Myers who has limited the Cubs offensive production in recent starts (Myers has started 3 games against the Cubs this season — 2-0 record, 4 ER in 22 2/3 innings pitched, only 17 total hits with 26 K’s).  Could be a long night Cubs fans…

Oh yeah – the Ricketts Family and the Cubs unveiled a 3rd statue before the game – Billy Williams’ sweet swing was placed right outside the Captain Morgan Club at the corner of Sheffield and Addison streets.  The Williams statue sent the Harry Caray statue packing to the corner of Sheffield and Waveland in front of the entrance to the Bleachers.  The Ernie Backs statue is still located by the main box office at the corner of Addison and Clark streets.

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“Bad” Win for Cubs Over Pirates – Can We Trust Carlos Marmol? – Cubs 5, Pirates 3 – 9/1/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Lou

If ever there was a “bad” win for a 57-win team, this was it.  I hate to criticize any Cubs win, but if you look more closely at the stats, there is a lot of concern even from the good players.

The biggest question is Carlos Marmol – Marmol entered the game with runners on 1st and 2nd base and 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning with the Cubs leading 5-2.  Sean Marshall – who bailed out Andrew Cashner with a strikeout with a runner in scoring position in the 7th inning – struck out 2 batters in the inning but also allowed 2 runners on with a walk and an error (I’ll get to the error later).  Marmol promptly walked the 1st two batters that he faced to force in a run which cut the Cubs lead to 5-3.  Sure Marmol got the next batter out with a strikeout, but by then the damage was already done.  Marmol walked another batter in the 9th inning as well, giving him 3 walks in an inning and a third in his outing.  Marmol seems to have resorted to his old habits of walking way to many batters in his outings.  In his 5 appearances from August 15th through August 24th, he walked at least 1 batter in each outing.  He issued 3 walks in a blown save showing against the Braves as all 3 runners scored.  Luckily he got out of yesterday’s innings despite the walks, but how much can we rely upon Marmol in the future.  After starting the season with a respectable strikeout to walk ratio, those walk numbers are slowly creeping up again.  In 2010, he has now walked 45 batters while striking out 113.  In 2009 he walked a career-high 65 batters, so depending on how the rest of this month goes, he could come close to that number again (let’s hope not).  Keep in mind, he walked only 35 batters in 2007 and just 41 in 2008.  He’s already eclipsed those numbers this year and we still have 30 games to go.  Batters have only a .167 batting average against Marmol in 2010 (with a career batting average against of .179), so someone needs to get through to him that he cannot keep giving up free passes in his outings.  While it is widely accepted that closers are typically “wild”, I would disagree with this.  Take the top 4 saves leaders in the majors this season, and you’ll see that they have impeccable control – Rays’ Rafael Soriano – 11 walks; Giants’ Brian Wilson – 22 walks; Padres’ Heath Bell – 22 walks; and Royals’  Joakim Soria – 14 walks.  Only 1 closer has more than 30 walks during the course of the season – Francisco Cordero of the Reds with 35.  After that, the next highest is 29 walks by the Tigers’ Jose Valverde.  Somehow, pitching coaches have worked with these closers to limit their walks.  So if the Cubs do intend to continue to rely upon Marmol to be the team’s closer of the future, maybe it’s time for Larry Rothschild to go the way of Lou Pinella following the 2010 MLB season.  He has been Marmol’s pitching coach for his entire career at the major league level and he hasn’t figured out what Marmol needs to do to be more efficient on the mound.  Hopefully the new manager’s new pitching coach will be able to do that in 2011.

I’ve also been a little disappointed with Sean Marshall’s outings of late.  Now I know he was SO good early on that you can’t expect that every time out, but he seems to have lost his focus of late.  It’s hard when you are playing on one of the worst teams in baseball with one of the worst fielding team’s behind you as well, but the walks are killing me.  Since August 4th, Marshall has issued a walk in 7 of his 14 outings (8 total walks).  If you go back to the entire month of July, he issued a walk in only 3 of his 16 appearances (4 total walks). He issued 5 walks in all of June, 7 walks in all of May and only 1 walk in the month of April.  I’m not sure if he is just not as sharp because of the grueling season or because it is frustrating to go out there each day and know that you are probably going to lose, but I hope this does not carry over into the 2011 MLB season.

Well enough of the negative.  Thomas Diamond relieved Tom Gorzelanny after he was hit with a line drive in the 3rd inning.  He gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to pick up his 1st major league win.

Kosuke Fukudome continued his hot hitting.  He had 3 more hits with an RBI and 2 runs scored.  He increased his batting average to .281 and has looked more confident at the plate once again.  I’m not sure why he always has a “summertime swoon” (maybe Chicago baseball is too hot for him), but if he keeps this up, it could help the team to move him in the off-season even if they have to eat some of his salary.  Unlike the Carlos Zambrano situation where I would NOT want to eat his salary in order to move him, I wouldn’t mind doing that to get rid of Fukudome.  He has had 3 years to prove himself and it just doesn’t add up at the major league level.  Plus, moving Fukudome would free up Tyler Colvin to play right field on a daily basis so that the club can scrap the 1st base experiment.

Starlin Castro had 2 hits and 2 runs scored and is now tied for 3rd place in the National League batting crown with a .317 batting average.

The Cubs welcome the New York Mets – another underachieving, frustrated team – to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field this Labor Day Weekend.  Randy Wells will face off against knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey in Friday afternoon’s opener.

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Not What the Doctor Ordered for Cubs in Cincy – Cubs 3, Reds 2 – Saturday 8/28/10 & Cubs 5, Reds 7 – Sunday 8/29/10

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Lou

I hate to admit this, but the Cubs actually played better than I thought they would against the Reds in Cincinnati this weekend.  They were going up against 3 pitchers that have given them fits in the past — Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood.  Plus, they were coming off of a 3-game losing streak, the perfect time for the Cubs to go into a nose dive and perform miserably against a good Reds team.  While Friday night’s 7-1 loss was entirely expected, I was surprised that the Cubs stayed in both games over the weekend, splitting the Saturday and Sunday contests.

There really weren’t too many highlights, but here’s a quick re-cap:

Cubs 3, Reds 2 Saturday night –

Randy Wells continues to be an enigma in 2010.  Sometime he looks great like he did on Saturday night and other times he looks lost out there as his 6-12 record indicates.  He limited the Reds to just 6 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  He gave up a Joey Votto home run and an RBI single in the 6th inning, but otherwise limited the Reds scoring chances throughout his outing.  Bronson Arroyo limited the Cubs offense to just 6 hits in 7 innings, but he made 2 costly mistakes.  He served up Xavier Nady’s solo homer in the 2nd inning and then Kosuke Fukudome’s game-winning 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

One other pitching positive – the bullpen preserved the 3-2 lead handed to them by Wells.  James Russell worked a scoreless 7th inning while striking out the side.  Andrew Cashner worked a perfect 8th as did Carlos Marmol in the 9th inning as he picked up his 24th save.  We know what we have in Marmol, but once again, Cashner and Russell could potentially be good pitchers at the major league level for years to come.  It’s just a matter of getting these kids and building their confidence by getting them in games in the right situations.  Let’s hope Manager Mike Quade can continue to do that the rest of the year with these young pitchers so that they have the right mental attitude heading into the 2011 MLB schedule.

Cubs 5, Reds 7 Sunday afternoon –  The Cubs squandered a great number of chances against Wood and Arthur Rhodes.  The Cubs got 10 hits and 4 walks off of Wood, but only scored 3 times.  You have to do better than that.  A couple of typical bad Cubs moments — bases loaded in the 1st inning and only 1 out and the Cubs don’t score; Jeff Baker makes the 3rd out at 3rd base in the 2nd inning on Starlin Castro’s RBI single; & 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 5th inning and they only push across 1 run on a ground out.  Kosuke Fukduome went from here to goat in just 1 short innings-time.  He hit a game-tying 2-run home run off of Arthur Rhodes in the top of the 8th inning.  Then in the bottom half of the inning, his fielding error in right field allowed Chad Heisey to score all the way from 1st base on Ramon Hernandez’s single.   That was the difference in the game.  Jeff Baker, Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady and Geovany Soto each had 2 hits in the loss.

Casey Coleman was back to his mediocre self after a really nice outing against the Nationals.  He gave up 4 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings.  But more importantly, he did not walk a batter.  That is always a good sign for a young pitcher.

Now it is time for the Cubs to battle their 2010 nemesis in a 3-game set this week at Wrigley Field.  The Pittsburgh Pirates come to town with their mouths watering for blood.  Despite an overall record of 43-87 — the worst record in the entire major leagues, the Pirates have beaten the Cubs 9 out of 12 times this season — ouch!  Look out Carlos Zambrano – you better bring your A-game tonight at the Friendly Confines.

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Gorzelanny Cracks Under Pressure in Cincinnati – Cubs 1, Reds 7 – 8/27/10 Great American Ballpark

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Lou

Tom Gorzelanny had a golden opportunity to continue to showcase his stuff for a 2010 starting rotation spot.  He was going up against the 1st place Reds in a hostile environment facing a lineup that loves to rake in its home park.  It was the perfect time to show that he can pitch on the big stage against one of the more productive lineups in the National League today, but Gorzelanny cracked under the spotlight, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits (including 3 home runs) over his 5 innings of work.  Maybe he just had an off-night, but he clearly showed that he is still simply a back-of-the-rotation starter on your average-to-bad major league ballclub.  Gorzelanny walked 2 and struck out 1 and fell to 7-8 on the season with a 3.98 ERA.  The ERA is still under 4.00 (a stat I like), but with his 1.46 WHIP, he gives too many teams too many chances throughout an outing.  And eventually, that usually comes back to haunt you like it did last night.  Jay Bruce stroked 3 home runs on the night (2 off of Gorzelanny) and Chris Valaika stroked the other homer off of Gorzelanny.

The Cubs offense left a lot to be desired as well.  The team only managed 6 hits off of Johnny Cueto and a Reds reliever.  They didn’t draw a single walk on the night.  Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Tyler Colvin drove in the only Cubs run with a double in the 4th inning.  Blake DeWitt had the only other Cubs hit in the lead-off spot.

So, the Cubs 3-game winning streak has ended, and now it’s back to reality after winning 3 games in a row over the Nationals.  Sure the Nationals have a better record than the Cubs in 2010, but are they really that much better of a team?  Probably not.  But the Reds are one of the best teams in the NL this year, and it’s clear that the Cubs cannot compete at their level.  Randy Wells will give it a shot tonight as he takes on Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 of the series tonight at the Great American Ballpark.

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