4/6 Quick hits

ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe has tabbed Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano as his pick for MVP this year. Soriano batted .325 with six home runs this spring and is feeling better with his legs. He told Lou Piniella he wants to play 155 games this year. Why not 162? Because Piniella is insisting Soriano take some time off, so the outfielder said he’d miss one day a month. Soriano isn’t thinking MVP.

“I think about being healthy,” he said.

Other notes:

  • Sean Marshall threw five innings on Sunday in Mesa, Ariz., in his last spring tuneup. The Cubs plan on staying in rotation with Rich Harden opening the series in Milwaukee Friday and Marshall making his first start next week against the Cardinals. Marshall said he threw strikes, however he did give up seven runs. It was a 9 a.m. start. “I pitched and got out of there,” Marshall said.
  • A report out of New York said Piniella could be hired as a consultant for the Yankees after his Cubs career is over. “I was there a long time,” Piniella said Monday. “Right now, and as I told [reporter Bill Madden], my only concern is the Chicago Cubs and that’s it.”
  • WGN Radio’s Pat Hughes rejoined the team after being stuck in Chicago for seven hours trying to get to New York for Saturday’s game. Hughes’ luggage, however, showed up at his home at 1 a.m. Monday morning. “I’m wearing my third-string shoes,” he said.
  • Sign of the new season: Carlos Zambrano rubbing clubhouse manager Tom Hellman’s head for good luck. “First one of the year,” Zambrano said.

— Carrie Muskat

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