6/18 Lineup & algebra class
So much for change. The Cubs’ lineup for Thursday is LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, RF Milton Bradley, 1B Derrek Lee, C Geovany Soto, 3B Mike Fontenot, CF Kosuke Fukudome, 2B Andres Blanco and P Carlos Zambrano. Lou Piniella said he’s still mulling over possible changes. He hasn’t lost faith in the players.
“I’ve got confidence in these guys, I’ve said that all along,” Piniella said. “We’ve got to see something. Me having confidence is good but eventually it has to translate into some offense on the field and it hasn’t. Invariably, I’m going to have to do things that I don’t want to do and hopefully, I won’t have to.
“I feel for some of these guys, I really do. It bothers me to see them struggle the way they have. It hurts me as a manager. But this is a tough business and you’ve got to produce. That’s basically the bottom line.”
Piniella planned to talk to players during batting practice. He’s told them to relax, have fun, hit the ball hard, swing at strikes. Stay on top of the ball, make consistent hard outs.
“I’ve said all the right things,” he said. “You’ve got to go up to home plate and execute. The more relaxed you are, the better you’re going to be. They’ve done it in the past. It’s not like we’re going from ‘Algebra I’ to ‘Algebra II’ and then to ‘Trigonometry.’ We’re doing basically things they’ve done in the past and they’ve done it successfully or they wouldn’t be here at this level.
“We’re not talking about going from Latin to Greek,” he said. “There’s only so many things the manager and his staff can do. I’ll take responsibility but at the same time, I don’t hit. When I played, I hit. Outside of that, all the meetings in the world, I don’t think they’re very productive.”
Piniella said he didn’t recall talking to the manager much when he played.
“I think [players] want to be left alone and be left alone to play and that’s basically what we do,” he said. “We treat people like men here.”
Alfonso Soriano has been swinging at a lot of bad pitches, and was batting .141 in his last 23 games. Piniella said he’s talked to his leadoff hitter about going to right field more, recalling that Soriano did that successfully when he played for the Yankees.
“Usually when he hits the ball to right field, he has fairly good success,” Piniella said. “I’ve talked to him about that many times.”
As a player, Piniella said he didn’t get into prolonged slumps.
“If I did, the manager would call me in and say, ‘Look, I have to sit you. Somebody else is going to play,'” Piniella said. “That’s it. There’s nothing else you can do.”
He hasn’t gotten to that point yet with the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat