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MESA, Ariz. -- No matter what the record says, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein insists he sees progress as he begins his third season in charge. It hasnt shown at the major league level. "The people that we have in place in this organization -- the coaches, scouts -- I believe are impact, and I believe in the processes that we have in place," Epstein said Thursday. "It takes time to turn our organization around. It takes time to build impact talent and to build requisite depth. But its happening. People in those meetings, the people in this organization, really believe that were on the verge of something special. And we understand that were perceived otherwise, and thats our fault because weve been a last-place club the last couple years. Were not protesting. We need to earn our way into a position where were championship contenders on an annual basis, and we feel like that is certainly moving in the right direction." It hasnt been an easy process, and while success might be on the horizon, it doesnt appear to be at hand. Pitchers and catchers reported on Thursday, and for the Cubs, it doesnt look like much will be different this season. They were relatively quiet in the off-season, although they did hire manager Rick Renteria to replace the fired Dale Sveum and made a run at star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but mostly it looks like they are in for more rough times at the major league level as they wait for their top prospects to develop in the minors. Their most recent winning season was when they went 83-78 under Lou Piniella in 2009. With four straight sub-.500 seasons, theyve matched their longest streak since 1984 to 1988. And another losing season would put them on their longest run since they finished below .500 six years in a row from 1978 to 1983. For now, the Cubs continue to sell hope, a promise that better days are coming. They tout their minor league system, and while renovations to Wrigley Field remain on hold, they can point to new facilities in the Dominican Republic along with a spring training home that just opened. As for the Cubs record, it cant get much worse. Theyve dropped 91 or more games each of the past three years and are coming off a two-year run under Sveum that produced a 127-197 record. Theyre hoping Renteria will provide the right atmosphere for young major league players such as shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as well as top prospects Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant. They believe they have three solid starters in Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson, although Jackson struggled last season and Samardzija is a potential trade chip after he was unable to reach a long-term agreement and took a one-year deal. Jake Arrieta, a candidate to start, might not be ready for the beginning of the season because of tightness in his right shoulder. General manager Jed Hoyer revealed Thursday that Arrieta, acquired from Baltimore last July, experienced some tightness this winter and is being brought along slowly. Hoyer announced Arrietas injury after confirming the Cubs agreed to one-year contracts with starting pitchers Jason Hammel and James McDonald. Both could be candidates to be traded before the deadline if they succeed, considering thats exactly what the Cubs did with Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman the past two seasons. "We know we have some numbers now," Hoyer said. They also have hope that better days are coming. "Theres a real dichotomy between how the organization is perceived from the outside and how we look at it internally and the morale that we have internally," Epstein said. NOTES: Renteria tabbed newcomer Jose Veras as the closer. ... Hoyer basically dismissed the idea of moving Castro to another position even though he and the White Soxs Alexei Ramirez led major league shortstops with 22 errors last season and Baez is in the pipeline. "Castros our shortstop," Hoyer said. "We have all the confidence in the world that hell remain our shortstop and hell keep working hard and keep improving. And he knows theres (room) to improve there." ... Hoyer said reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will soon start throwing off the mound. Hes coming off Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow. ... Epstein said the Cubs will look to draft pitchers going forward, although not necessarily with their first pick. Air Max 95 Scontate Uomo . -- Kael Mouillierat scored three times and set up one more as the St. Air Max Plus Ingrosso .C. -- Marcus Paige and his North Carolina teammates have endured so many wild swings -- big wins, surprising losses, NCAA drama -- that no one can blame their Hall of Fame coach for wondering whats next. http://www.airmaxshoponlineitalia.it/scontate-max-97-outlet.html . -- Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after having an operation on a groin muscle. Air Max Plus Near Me . It was a day that saw England slump off a World Cup field once again battered and bruised. This time there was no red card to wonder about, no goalkeeping error or individual mistake. They were thoroughly beaten by something they have nothing of – genuine world class ability. Air Max 720 Edizione Limitata .Y. - Alex Rodriguez paid $305,000 for evidence that could be used in the case involving the Biogenesis of America drug clinic, the Daily News reported Saturday.MONTREAL - It wasnt the game-winner he hoped for to end a 20-career in professional soccer, but Marco Di Vaio still left the Montreal Impact with a goal to remember him by.The 38-year-old Italian, who finished off a stellar career with three Major League Soccer seasons in Montreal, scored in the 27th minute only to see Fabian Espindola get the equalizer in the 86th as the Impact played to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United on Saturday.To finish my career is a little bit sad, but this has been a big day for me and my family, so Im happy, said Di Vaio. Scoring goals was my life, and this was the last time I will feel that emotion.But I received a lot of emotion from everyone in Montreal, inside and outside the stadium. I feel like a lucky guy.The game meant nothing in the standings to either side.Montreal (6-10-1 finished last in the 19-team MLS after a difficult season, although they took heart from going undefeated — three wins and three ties — in the last six home games.D.C. United (17-8-9), which finished on a six-game unbeaten string, came first in the Eastern Conference and will face the winner of the fourth versus fifth place knockout game in the playoffs.It poured cold rain throughout the match, but the crowd of 15,242 were there mostly to celebrate the career of perhaps the best player ever to put on the Impacts blue, white and black uniform.The goal, scored on a solo run up the left side with a low shot slotted past goalkeeper Bill Hamid, was like many of the 34 he scored in 76 games for Montreal.When he went in, Di Vaio performed his signature goal celebration — he kissed the ring on his left hand and lifted his arm to the sky.What I said to the group before the game is that Im honoured to be part of this group and to finish my career here in Montreal, he said. Every victory, every goal with this team is part of my memories. It was an incredible experience.He was feted in a pre-game ceremony in which he brought his daughters Sofia, 8, and Sara, 6, onto the field, where he was presented with a painting of himself kissing his ring that was done by teammate Issey Nakajima-Farran, a professional artist when not playing soccer.This painting will come with me to Italy in my house, said Di Vaio, who is expected to take a job with hiis former team, Bologna FC, which was recently bought by a group that includes Impact president Joey Saputo.ddddddddddddNakajima-Farran said the painting, which took 27 hours to complete, was called Taking Off The tape, a reference to the tape Di Vaio put over the ring during games.Hes never going to take that tape off again, said Nakajima-Farran. We had all the guys sign the back, so it was a collective thing.All the players wanted to be part of it, so I think its a very personal present for him. He looked pretty happy. I was hoping he would cry, but he didnt.Di Vaio joined Montreal three months into its MLS expansion season in 2012 after a long career in Italy as the teams first designated player. He quickly became its most popular and productive player.His 20 goals in 2013, none of them from the penalty spot, helped the Impact reach the playoffs in only its second MLS campaign.A three-game suspension and some early injury trouble limited him to nine goals this season.Nakajima-Farran said the Impact players were looking to set up Di Vaio in his last game.It worked when Dilly Duka sent him in alone to score. Another chance in the 52nd minute was foiled by Sean Franklins sliding clearance. Di Vaio had one last chance in added time, but chipped a shot just wide before he was substituted off to a standing ovation.It was a special moment, said Nakajima-Farran. We were fighting to get possession of the ball, but we were always looking across to Marco.It was an emotional time for him.Espindola got the equalizer when he cut across the edge of the penalty area from the right side and made a sharp turn and fired a low shot to catch Evan Bush leaning the wrong way.Former Impact and Italy defender Alessandro Nesta, who had his own retirement game a year ago, was in attendance and was among a group of former teammates who saluted Di Vaio in Italian in scoreboard messages played at the intermission. NOTES: Montreal used a makeshift back-line with Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara and Heath Pearce all serving one-game suspensions. Academy products Karl Ouimette, Wandrille Lefevre and Maxim Tissot all started on defence. Midfielder Felipe Martins sat out with an injury. . . Former Impact captain Davy Arnaud did not dress for D.C. ' ' '