Piniella Tweaks Lineup
Soriano was batting sixth Saturday
Soriano was batting sixth Saturday

Posted Jul 4, 2009


Saying he "thought about it all night," manager Lou Piniella still went ahead Friday and put left fielder Alfonso Soriano back in the leadoff spot after Soriano sat for the two previous games.

Things might be changing, however.

In Thursday night's 9-5 victory over the Brewers, rookie Sam Fuld led off and played left field. He got on base three times and scored twice.

Soriano has struggled at the plate for much of the season. He went 0-for-5 Friday has an on-base percentage of .291 and no home runs since June 7.

After Friday's 2-1 win over the Brewers, Piniella said changes may happen as early as Saturday.

"I said we're going to make some adjustments with the lineup, and we'll leave it at that," Piniella said.

Ever since Soriano began playing for the Cubs in 2007, talk has turned from time to time to moving him down in the order because he is not a "true" leadoff hitter. However, Piniella has pointed to Soriano's "comfort level" batting leadoff, his power potential and Piniella's own faith that Soriano will get hot.

Soriano was batting sixth in the Cubs' lineup Saturday.

CUBS 2, BREWERS 1 (10 innings): 3B Jake Fox drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, as the Cubs won their third straight and moved one game over .500, at 39-38. RHP Carlos Zambrano worked seven innings, giving up five hits and the lone run. He also singled home a run.

NOTES, QUOTES

--IF Mike Fontenot could find himself in the minor leagues next week when the Cubs get 3B Aramis Ramirez and OF Reed Johnson off the DL. Fontenot is batting .225.

"There's no reason why he can't hit in the .250-.260 range with a little with a little power," Piniella said.

--C Geovany Soto hit his eighth homer of the season Thursday. Of his last five hits, three have been for extra bases (homer, double, triple). Soto did not play on Friday.

--Ramirez will play in three rehab games this weekend for Class A Peoria. Ramirez has been out since dislocating his left shoulder May 8.

"We need his bat," Piniella said. "We need his presence in the lineup. Not only that, but he gives us a real good glove at third base." If all goes well, Ramirez will return Monday.

--Johnson will play in rehab games Saturday and Sunday for Peoria. Johnson has been on the disabled list, retroactive to June 21, with lower back spasms. Johnson could return to the active roster Monday.

ROSTER REPORT

--Soriano is 27-for-156 (.173) over his last 36 games. Soriano expressed a willingness to bat down in the order if Piniella orders him to do so. "If he thinks he has to change the lineup, he's the manager," Soriano said.

--Zambrano turned in his 10th quality start of the season and the 50th for the Cubs, best in the majors. Zambrano had only three strikeouts and said his fastball wasn't as fast as it's been.

"I was throwing a lot of split-fingers today," he said. "I saw the gun was just 88-89. I said, 'I have to pitch like (Greg) Maddux.' Just move the ball. I had a Jose Contreras split-finger. That's what I did (Friday)."

--Fox picked up the first-game winning RBI of his career with his bases-loaded 10th-inning walk. Fox also committed an error, his first of the season.

--RHP Kevin Gregg picked up the victory to move to 3-2 with a 3.62 ERA. Gregg, the Cubs' closer worked two innings for only the third time this season.

--SS Ryan Theriot stole his team-leading 10th base. He also increased his Wrigley Field hitting streak to nine games. He leads the team with a .331 home average.

--INF/OF Jeff Baker was obtained from the Rockies for a minor league pitcher. Baker has been on the disabled list much of the season with a left hand injury. The Cubs say they like his versatility and offensive ability. To clear a room for Baker on the 40-man roster, INF/OF Ryan Freel was designated for assignment.

--The Sports XChange


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