Little by little, the Cubs offense is starting to awaken. According to manager Lou Piniella, it…
The five outfielders Piniella has are Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, Tyler Colvin and Xavier Nady.
Nady, who is coming off elbow surgery last year, has been eased into play, and he is off to a .207 start, but the rest of the outfielders have hit well.
Rookie Colvin was a spring training surprise, and Piniella has been able to get him regular work of late. Colvin came within a triple of the cycle Sunday at Milwaukee. If he doesn't start, he's usually a late-inning defensive replacement for Soriano in left.
Byrd has been hot of late, and Fukudome is having another good April.
CUBS 4, NATIONALS 3 (10 innings): Aramis Ramirez walked on four pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning. Cubs batters drew eight walks. Carlos Silva worked seven solid innings, Carlos Zambrano came out of the pen and held the Nats at bay for 1 2/3 innings, and Carlos Marmol earned his first win by working the 10th.
--Zarlos Zambrano said Monday he still thinks of himself as a starting pitcher but that he'll do whatever the Cubs ask. Zambrano made his first relief appearance since 2002 on Saturday in Milwaukee.
"I said the Cubs are paying me to pitch -- starter, reliever, closer," he said. "Whatever they want me to do here, I'm available."
Although the Cubs have set no timetable on how long the move would last, Zambrano reiterated his belief the move is temporary.
"I don't think I will be too long in this role," he said.
--Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to six games (16-for-30, .533) with two hits. It also marked his sixth straight multi-hit game. Theriot singled to start the game-winning rally.
"As a competitor, you want to be up in those situations," he said. "You want to have a chance to do something, so it's something I embrace and enjoy."
--Colvin, a left-handed batter, started in right field against the Nationals' John Lannan. In most cases, Piniella likes to use Nady against lefties. Not on this night.
"What I'd like to do with Nady, if I can, is give him a start against right-hand pitching as opposed to just lefties, because what happens, invariably, is you start pulling off the ball a little bit," Piniella said. "You face a right-hander, hitting from the right side, it makes you stay closed. I think that will help him get going. Since we can only play him a couple days a week, I think facing a right-hander will do him more than just facing a lefty."
--Byrd has a five-game hitting streak during which he's gone 13-for-23 (.565). He has five multi-hit games.
"Marlon is a good player; he gets after it," Piniella said. "He enjoys playing and he's been very productive for us."
Byrd is batting .355 for the season.
--Silva has four quality starts in four outings. He's the first Cubs pitcher with that many quality starts in his first four games with the team since Ted Lilly opened the 2007 season with five quality starts in a row.
--Silva, Zambrano and Marmol all pitched Monday. According to the Cubs, it was the first time since June 5, 1966, that the Cubs used three pitchers in a game with the same first name (Bill Hands, Bill Connors and Bill Hoeft).
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