Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Adjusting on the Fly

Some interesting notes via Bruce Miles and the Daily Herald:

•First baseman Derrek Lee remained in Chicago because neck spasms haven’t let up enough for him to fly. He may not rejoin the team until Friday’s home game against the White Sox.

•The Cubs optioned reliever Rocky Cherry to Class AAA Iowa and purchased the contract of infielder Michael Fontenot from Iowa.

•Infielder Mark DeRosa underwent X-rays and an exam of his right ring finger, which was injured Monday night during a basepath collision as DeRosa played first base. Tests revealed no break, but DeRosa said he “strained a tendon or ligament” and is day to day.

•In another bit of mystery, manager Lou Piniella refused to say Alfonso Soriano would go back to the leadoff spot once Lee returns. All Piniella would say was that Lee would go back to the third spot.

Soriano, who began the season as the Cubs’ leadoff man, has batted third in Lee’s absence. It’s possible the Cubs could put him second once Lee gets back. That would make Ryan Theriot (.384 on-base percentage) the leadoff man.

"All I said was D-Lee was going to hit third," Piniella said. "I didn't say anything else."

So what happens to Soriano, the guy the Cubs were going to leave in one position and bat leadoff all year? So far, they’ve moved him from center field to left field.

"We're going to find out," Piniella said.

The Derrek Lee and Mark DeRosa stuff is frustrating. Not because they are hurt. Injuries happen. The frustration comes from the nebulous diagnoses and the team playing two players short while these guys recuperate. This has all the smell of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood injuries from years past. "He's fine, he's just having dialysis and we're seeking marrow donors. But, he's fine," is the standard tripe from the Jim Hendry era.

But the key here is the move of Soriano out of the leadoff spot. Having a guy with 40 homer potential hit behind the pitcher is silly. Having him hit behind a .384 OBP guy makes much more sense.

Theriot would see more fast balls. And, with Theriot on base, so would Soriano.

Lou seems to be willing to make adjustments as he goes. What a novel approach. Such flexibility will lead to more wins.

So refreshing to see manager who gets it. First time since Don Zimmer that it has been so.

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