8/17 Rotation update, Theriot and 2nd base
The Cubs have tweaked the rotation for this West Coast trip. Rich Harden, who was to start Sunday against the Pirates, now will go Wednesday in the series finale against the Padres. Tom Gorzelanny will start Thursday followed by Randy Wells, which gives him a couple extra days of rest. The Cubs have been trying to give the rookie right-hander a breather since he’s closing in on season high in innings pitched.
* Lou Piniella was happy to hear Carlos Zambrano admit that he needs to work harder at his exercises.
“It takes a little courage to do that and being truthful,” Piniella said. “We’ve tried to encourage him to work hard. He’s got so much natural ability that at times he thinks he can get away with just his natural ability. He’s got to work. I was glad to see he ‘fessed up to it and hopefully he can give us a strong finishing kick, because we’re going to need it.”
Zambrano, who admitted he was “lazy” in his workouts, stayed in Chicago to continue his exercises, will make a rehab start Thursday for Class A Peoria, and then return to the Cubs rotation next Tuesday.
* Ryan Theriot was not with the team. He is sidelined with the stomach flu and stayed back in Chicago. Apparently, his whole family is sick as well. Theriot was expected to rejoin the Cubs on Tuesday in San Diego.
* Expect Jeff Baker to get the majority of playing time at second base.
“He’s been doing a nice job,” Piniella said. “At the same time, hopefully, getting [Mike] Fontenot a few at-bats, he’ll be able to help us off the bench in spot duty at times. If he wants to get back in there, swing the bat. We’ll let him. I like Fontenot as the player. He’s struggled and the other kid basically has done better.”
– Carrie Muskat