Piniella Having to Adapt on the Fly


Posted Apr 14, 2009


Between injuries and the weather in Chicago, Cubs manager Lou Piniella will have to remake his offense on the fly.

Piniella was without three starters Monday, as Milton Bradley (groin), Aramis Ramirez (back) and Geovany Soto (shoulder) missed the game. None of the three injuries is expected to be long term.

Add to that a day when the temperature was 36 degrees with a cold wind, and the Cubs had to play some small ball in their 4-0 victory over the Rockies.

However, neither of these scenarios seemed to catch Piniella by surprise. He knows the injured players needed to be replaced, and that Derrek Lee will need a rest now and then.

"I've made out lineups with Ramirez out of it from time to time to see how it would look like, with Bradley out of it from time to time, with Lee out of it from time to time, just to get an idea of what lineups look like," Piniella said. "On paper, they look fine. And I think they'll perform on the field. We'll have to play a little different game, but that's all right, too."

CUBS 4, ROCKIES 0: Ted Lilly had a no-hitter for 6 2/3 innings before Garrett Atkins singled to break it up. Lilly (2-0) struck out eight and walked two as he and three relievers combined on a one-hitter. Cubs batters walked nine times and strung together enough hits even as they stranded 13 runners.

NOTES, QUOTES

--SS Ryan Theriot failed to get a hit for the first time this season. However, he laid down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning after LF Alfonso Soriano singled to lead off. RF Kosuke Fukudome followed with an RBI single. Theriot is 11-for-24 (.458) this season.

-Lilly has taken no-hitters into the seventh inning in three of his last five starts. In addition to Monday, Lilly did it twice last September. Lilly retired 20 of the first 21 Rockies he faced.

-- Ramirez was a lineup scratch because of what he said was lingering back soreness. Ramirez said the back, which has bothered him off and on since spring training, acted up Sunday night in Milwaukee, but he was able to play. The Cubs have an off day Tuesday, and Ramirez expressed optimism he could play Wednesday.

-- Bradley looks to be out three to five days, according to manager Lou Piniella. Bradley strained his right groin Sunday while running the bases. On Monday, Piniella moved Kosuke Fukudome from center field to right and inserted Reed Johnson into the lineup in center.

-- Soto has been given the go-ahead to resume starting Wednesday. Soto came out of the second game of the season because of what turned out to be right shoulder inflammation. He pinch-hit Sunday, but did not appear in Monday's game.

MINORS WATCH

ALBUQUERQUE 3, IOWA 1 (CLASS AAA)

At Albuquerque, N.M., LHP J.R. Mathes (1-1) gave up three runs in the seventh inning en route to the loss Monday. Top Cubs pitching prospect Jeff Samardzija started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out four batters in a no-decision. 3B Nate Spears (1-for-3) drove in the Cubs’ only run with an RBI sac fly in the fourth inning. Iowa (3-2) was held to six hits.

JACKSONVILLE 2, TENNESSEE 0 (CLASS AA)

At Jacksonville, Fla., the Smokies (2-3) were held to four hits Monday as Jacksonville took the rubber game of the series. C Steve Clevenger (2-for-4) paced the Smokies’ offense.

LHP Casey Lambert (0-1), who made 55 relief appearances a season ago between Tennessee and Class-A Daytona, made his first career pro start and worked five innings.

Lambert allowed two runs and five hits to go with one walk.

“They decided in the middle of spring training to try and stretch me into a starter,” said Lambert. “I was able to spot my fastball pretty well, but my changeup was definitely my best pitch (Monday). I didn’t really have my curveball, which was the reason for all the groundouts with no strikeouts.”

DAYTONA 6, BREVARD COUNTY 5 (CLASS HIGH-A)

At Daytona Beach, SS Starlin Castro singled in the winning run in the 10th inning. LF Marwin Gonzalez and CF Jonathan Wyatt finished with two hits, and RF Dylan Johnston hit a two-run home run as part of a two-hit performance. The Cubs (3-1) used five pitchers in the win as RHP Rafael Dolis started and allowed two runs and six hits in four innings in a no-decision. RHP David Cales (2-0) got the win for the second time in four games, tossing two scoreless innings.


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