4/24 More on the lineup changes

Lou Piniella tweaked the Cubs lineup Friday, moving leadoff man Alfonso Soriano into the No. 3 spot, inserting Ryan Theriot at the top of the order, and dropping Derrek Lee to fifth.

“We’ll take a look at it and see how it works,” Piniella said before the Cubs’ opened a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. “We’ve struggled a little bit scoring runs. We moved Theriot to the leadoff spot. We’ve got [Kosuke] Fukudome in the two-hole, Soriano in the three-hole and [Aramis] Ramirez in the four-hole. Those have been our best hitters.”

Soriano, who entered the weekend series riding a 10-game hitting streak and batting .350 in that stretch, got the news from hitting coach Gerald Perry.

“Whatever they want to do to try to make the team better, I’m open,” Soriano said. “If [Piniella] thinks he wants to do something to win, I want to win. If he changed the lineup today because he thinks with that lineup we have a better chance to win [it’s OK].”

How long will it last?

“If we win, it stays,” Soriano said, smiling. “If we lose, I know he’ll make some more changes. It depends on what happens in the game.”

Soriano has been the Cubs’ No. 1 man in the lineup the last two seasons as well as this year, and ranks third among active players with 51 career leadoff homers, including two this year. He did bat third for seven games in 2007, but went 5-for-28 (.179) with one RBIs and was switched back to the leadoff spot.

Lee batted .303 (10-for-33) on the just completed eight-game homestand, but was batting .207 overall. Theriot ranks among the National League leaders with a .365 average.

The one player missing from the equation is Milton Bradley, who is sidelined with a nagging groin injury. Piniella repeated that he would likely put Bradley in the sixth spot when he returns.

“We’ll see how it works, that’s all,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

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