Saturday in the park, Part II

The one thing Lou Piniella is looking for this spring from his hitters is bat speed, and so far, he hasn’t seen much of it from the big three, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Soriano and Ramirez were both in Saturday’s lineup for the Cubs’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I’m not complaining,” Piniella said, “but I’d just like to see it. You lull yourself into thinking, ‘I’ve got time’ and play a waiting game.”

But hitters can’t just flip a switch and turn on the power.

“Everybody has to work at it to maintain it,” Piniella said.

Other Saturday pregame notes:

  • Mark Johnson started behind the plate Saturday and is part of the mix for the backup catcher job. Piniella said Koyie Hill and Paul Bako both call a good game and are both good catch and throw players. But neither one has done much at the plate.
  • Looking ahead to Monday’s game against Kansas City, Chad Gaudin, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gregg and Sean Marshall are all scheduled to pitch. Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Aaron Heilman all are expected to pitch Tuesday vs. Seattle. Wednesday is an off day for the Cubs.
  • Carlos Marmol could return sooner than expected if the Dominican Republic team doesn’t rally in the World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands beat the Dominican, 3-2, on Saturday in the double elimination tournament.

— Carrie Muskat 

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