7/12 First game quick hits

The shortstops on both teams had a tough time dealing with pop ups on Sunday at Wrigley Field. Ryan Theriot couldn’t handle Albert Pujols’ ball in the fifth, and was charged with an error. Brendan Ryan had a tough time with Jake Fox’s ball in the fifth, and it dropped for a single.

“We’ve told Theriot sunglasses are good for the beach,” Lou Piniella said. “Get the flip-down variety that you can drop over your eyes. We told him, ‘You go to North [Avenue] Beach, you wear the other kind. Over here, you wear the baseball variety.'”

* Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-3 with a walk, and the walk in the first helped set up Micah Hoffpauir’s homer. Soriano seems to be making the adjustments hitting coach Von Joshua is suggesting.

“I just try to put my left foot on the ground early and I have plenty of time to do whatever I want with the ball,” Soriano said. “I want to continue to be a better hitter now.”

And the power will come?

“Yes,” Soriano said. “I feel comfortable, and I’m having good swings. I just have to wait for my time.”

“He’s been doing well in the middle part of the lineup,” Piniella said. “We’re pleased. He’s being more selective, he’s getting his base hits. You continue to get base hits, the power will come.”

* Derrek Lee will start at first and Aramis Ramirez at third in the second game against the Cardinals. The rest of the lineup was to be announced.

* Carlos Zambrano was given the choice of starting the first or second game. He picked the first. “For me, it doesn’t matter,” Zambrano said. “I wanted Randy Wells to pitch tonight’s game so people can know him better. People who are watching this game tonight can know him and know he will be good for us.”

What’s Zambrano doing for the All-Star break?

“I’m going to the Bahamas, baby,” he said.

* Ryan Dempster (broken right big toe) was able to play catch in the outfield between games Sunday. Dempster is still getting his cardio work in by riding his bike. He pedaled along the lakefront on Sunday, going all the way to Soldier Field and back.

* The rotation for the Cubs’ series post-break will be Rich Harden, Zambrano, Ted Lilly and TBD.

— Carrie Muskat

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