The Chicago Cubs are a good fit for me, so I'm thankful that general manager Jim Hendry saw fit to bring me back for my second stint with the club this season.
I've played on different teams before, but this is the first time I've come back to a team I had played with previously. Obviously, there are many people here now who weren't here during my initial stint with the Cubs from 1998 through 2002. I think the only two guys still here from that time are Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.
One of the things I remember fondly from my first time around in Chicago was the atmosphere at Wrigley Field. I really enjoyed the day games. The games, the fans, the weather -- everything just came together. With more day games, you also had the bonus of having something of a normal life. You were usually out of the ballpark by five or six at night, and you had the evening to do what you wanted.
Plus, I was very comfortable with Jim being the general manager and with all the guys they have on the team now. I liked the idea of coming back as a free agent this past winter.
My 20-win season here in 2001 ranks up there in my accomplishments, but I've always looked at the accomplishment with a broader scope. None of those wins would have been possible without my teammates. I was lucky enough to stay healthy that season, and some good things happened.
When I was here the first time, I was a starting pitcher. In fact, my whole career I had been a starter, but that wasn't settled coming to the Cubs, and I kept an open mind coming into camp.
I give a lot of credit to Lou Piniella for the way he's handled me this season. I wasn't used to being in a setup role coming into the season. He started me out in some low-pressure situations that allowed me to adapt, and it's worked out very well.
Jon Lieber is currently on the disabled list due to a foot injury. After starting his career with Pittsburgh, he pitched for the Cubs from 1999-2002. This year, his first working primarily from the bullpen, he is 2-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 25 games pitched, including one start.
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