Soriano not off to good start (STAFF/PAM DAVIS)
Cubs manager Lou Piniella says he has no plans to bench or platoon left fielder Alfonso Soriano, but he did say he will get all five of his outfielders work.
The upshot is that Soriano, center fielder Marlon Byrd and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome each will get days off from time to time so Piniella can get at-bats for rookie Tyler Colvin and veteran Xavier Nady.
"I talked to all of them," Piniella said Wednesday. "They know that from time to time, they're going to get a little time off. I think it's good for them. I think that getting Byrd a day off once in a while, Fukudome, Soriano, it's good for all of them. It will keep them strong. It'll keep them more productive. At the same time, I have to play Nady, and I have to play Colvin. Colvin will play (Thursday), and we'll give one of the outfielders a rest."
Soriano has come under great scrutiny lately, and he's heard boos from the Wrigley Field faithful. He made an error on the recent road trip that led to the Reds scoring the eventual game-winning run. In Wednesday's 7-6 victory over the Brewers, Soriano committed an error and let another ball get past him after it hit the wall in left field.
Part of the sentiment against Soriano no doubt stems from the eight-year, $136 million contract that general manager Jim Hendry signed him to after the 2006 season. Soriano underwent knee surgery last September, and while his defense has never been great, it appears to be on a downward spiral.
Piniella replaced Soriano in left field with Colvin during the seventh inning, prompting cheers for Colvin and boos for Soriano.
Soriano took extra outfield practice Wednesday morning, and Piniella said his problems aren't for lack of effort.
"Sori's doing the best he possibly can," Piniella said. "This young man takes a lot of pride in what he does. He works hard. He wants to do good. Nobody wants to drop a fly ball. (Coach Mike) Quade works with him every day. If you look out there, look at him, he's working. That's all you can expect. He'll get better. I love this guy to death, I really do. I still take him out for defense with leads. I want to see Sori do good. He's a good young man. He works hard. He's had such a great career."
Soriano said he understands the outfield rotation and that he needs to shore up both his offense and his defense to play every day.
"The key is to stay healthy," he said. "That's the bottom line, just to stay healthy. If I stay healthy, I'm going to have a very good year."
CUBS 7, BREWERS 6: The Cubs scored four runs in the eighth inning, all with two outs, to rally from a 6-3 deficit. SS Ryan Theriot and Fukudome each had two-run singles in the eighth. RHP Randy Wells worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up 10 hits and four runs to get a no-decision. RHP Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in three chances.
--The Cubs made their first roster move of the season, putting RHP Esmailin Caridad on the 15-day disabled list and recalling RHP Jeff Gray from Class AAA Iowa. The Cubs say Caridad has a right forearm strain, an injury that began bothering him Monday. Caridad, a rookie, made the team out of spring training but walked three in 2 2/3 innings to start the season. The Cubs obtained Gray in an offseason trade with Oakland. He'll work middle to late relief. He earned the victory Wednesday despite giving up two runs on three hits in the eighth.
--1B Derrek Lee is scheduled to play in Thursday's series finale against the Brewers. Lee left Monday's game early and did not start Wednesday because of right thumb inflammation. He took a cortisone shot Monday.
--RHP Ryan Dempster will be pushed back to Sunday's series finale against Houston. Dempster threw 114 pitches in Monday's home opener, and the Cubs want to give him an extra day of rest. The rotation through the weekend is RHP Carlos Zambrano vs. Milwaukee followed by RHP Carlos Silva, LHP Tom Gorzelanny and Dempster against the Astros at Wrigley Field.
--Fukudome is off to his third straight hot April. He leads the Cubs in hits (10) and batting average (.417). Piniella has said more than once he believes Fukudome will carry the performance over the entire season.
"I do really hope the same way that Lou is saying," Fukudome said. "I am preparing myself from spring training, so hopefully, it will continue that way."
--Marmol is perfect in three save chances this season and 15-for-15 dating back to last August when he took over the closer's role full-time fro Kevin Gregg. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Milwaukee's Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
"I tell you what, he threw the ball," Piniella said. "That's impressive. I mean that is really, really, good stuff."
--Theriot extended his hitting streak to five games by going 4-for-5. He also stole two bases, giving him two games this year in which he has stolen a pair. Two of the right-handed-hitting Theriot's singles went to right-center, which is where he often hits the ball when he's going well.