5/1 Quick hits
Aramis Ramirez was available to pinch-hit but Lou Piniella could not give a date as to when the third baseman could return to the Cubs lineup. Ramirez has been bothered by a strained left calf, injured one week ago in St. Louis. He did workout at third base on Friday.
* Derrek Lee shouldered a lot of the blame for the Cubs’ struggles after Thursday’s game. “He shouldn’t really,” Piniella said. “It’s a team. I know he’s struggled, but it’s still a team. This is not like golf where you can control your own destiny by yourself. You’ve got 25 people, and you win as a team and lose as a team.”
* Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have discussed the large amount of walks being issued lately. Cubs pitchers have walked 92 in 21 games, Only the Washington Nationals have issued more (96).
* It’s only May 1. When is it no longer early or late?
“That’s a good question,” Piniella said. “It depends on the standings in the division. You certainly don’t want to lose contact with the teams ahead of you. But at the same time, until you straighten your own situation out, you should forget about what everybody else is doing. Better worry about yourself and try to win ballgames and get back on track.
“It’s late when you’re eliminated,” he said.
* April showers: The Cubs finished the first month 10-11, batting .246 with 25 homers and a team ERA of 4.70. Last year, they went 17-10 in April.
* Friday’s Marlins starter, Graham Taylor, is only the third lefty the Cubs will face. So far, they’re winless vs. a southpaw.
– Carrie Muskat