Something to think about

While driving back from Tucson Saturday night on I-10, shortly before reaching Picacho Peak, the discussion turned to So Taguchi vs. Joey Gathright. It was prompted by a play in the eighth inning when Colorado’s Ryan Spilborghs tripled to right. Two runs scored, but what will not show up in the box score was the way that Taguchi, who was playing in left, ran in to backup at third base. Taguchi, 39, who signed a Minor League free agent contract with the Cubs, is batting .263 this spring and is fundamentally sound. Maybe he should be the extra outfielder?

“I’ll tell you the guy who’s had a heck of a spring is Taguchi,” Lou Piniella said after Friday’s game, totally unprompted. “He gives you a very professional at-bat and has done a really nice job. I don’t know if there will be room, but what a professional young man he is and the way he approaches things and the way he works. I’ve been very impressed.”

Gathright is batting .244 so far after an 0-for-4 game Saturday. A left-handed hitter, he batted .254 with 21 stolen bases last year for the Royals, missing time because of a bone bruise in his right shoulder. He has a career .263 average against right-handed pitchers, and a .288 average with runners in scoring position.

Taguchi, a right-handed bat, hit .220 in 88 games with the Phillies last season, is a career .281 hitter against lefties (but just .184 last year), and .278 hitter vs. right-handers. He has a career .332 average with RISP.

Both can play the corners. Gathright can help in center, but the Cubs already have Kosuke Fukudome and Reed Johnson. There’s been a lot of talk about needing more left-handed bats, but if the Cubs take Micah Hoffpauir, they should have enough.

Between Taguchi and Gathright, who can help the Cubs more? We’ll see.

— Carrie Muskat

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