3/17 Quick hits

Can the Cubs run more this year? “It depends on Soriano,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Alfonso Soriano. “It starts with the leadoff spot. [Milton] Bradley can run a little bit. We just have to be careful with him. [Ryan] Theriot can run. [Mike] Fontenot can steal an occasional base. [Kosuke] Fukudome occasionally.

“We’re probably more of a first to third team than we are a stolen base team it seems,” Piniella said. “That was one of the reasons for trying to add speed with [Joey] Gathright on the bench.

“Are we going to lead the National League in stolen bases?” Piniella said. “I hardly think so — unless we steal them before and after the game.”

  • The Cubs have been impressed with right-hander David Patton, who was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft. Patton has not pitched above the Class A level. “He’s not intimidated,” Piniella said. “He’s got pretty good stuff. His best chance is to continue to throw strikes.”
  • Expect Corey Koskie to start every other day at third if he has no setbacks. “We’re going to take a good look at him over the next few weeks,” Piniella said. Koskie made his first start at third Tuesday since suffering a concussion in 2006.
  • Piniella razzed pitching coach Larry Rothschild about not scheduling Jeff Samardzija or Aaron Heilman to pitch on St. Patrick’s Day. They’re not Irish, but Fighting Irish. Both attended Notre Dame.

— Carrie Muskat


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