3/31 Quick hits
Sean Marshall, who was starting Tuesday for the Cubs, will stay behind in Arizona to pitch five to six innings on Sunday. The fifth starter in the rotation, he will be skipped in the first turn and isn’t needed until April 16. The Cubs also are considering flip-flopping Marshall and Rich Harden for the April 15 game if Harden needs more time. Ted Lilly is scheduled to pitch Friday in New York but the Cubs may have him stay behind in Mesa if the weather forecast isn’t good.
- Derrek Lee insisted on getting at-bats Tuesday but the Cubs want him to be careful with his right leg and not run 100 percent. “His bat is starting to come alive and he’s hitting the ball the way we’re expecting him to hit it and he doesn’t want to sit too long to lose his edge,” Lou Piniella said.
- Kosuke Fukudome’s home run on Monday was a good sign as was a ball he hit sharply at the Royals’ first baseman. “We need this young man to hit,” Piniella said. “We’re going to get him as many at-bats as we can between now and the start of the season. Since he’s been here, he hasn’t gone the other way with the ball yet, which is something he’ll have to do. I don’t care where they go as long as he’s on base and as long as he hits the ball reasonably well. I’m going to give him every opportunity to hit second in the lineup and it’s going to be up to him. I hope he does well. We could use a good contribution from him.”
- Koyie Hill and Micah Hoffpauir spent most of Monday night returning congratulatory calls from family and friends about making the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. And yes, someone did finally tell Hoffpauir — assistant general manager Randy Bush delivered the news.
- No player will be assigned Kerry Wood’s locker in the Cubs clubhouse at Wrigley Field — it will remain empty.
- A reminder: MLB Network will televise Friday’s game at new Yankee Stadium and Comcast Sports Net will handle Saturday’s game.
– Carrie Muskat