8/22 Lou: "I plan on coming back"

Lou Piniella plans on coming back for the 2010 season with the Cubs, but says the final decision will be up to the Cubs’ new owners, the Ricketts family.

“I’m an employee of this organization, and I don’t make those decisions,” Piniella said Saturday. “Those decisions are made by ownership. I am signed through next year and I do plan on fulfilling my contract. But, that’s not to say I’ll be back because I don’t make those decisions.”

Piniella, who turns 66 on Friday, acknowledged this has been a difficult season, but said he’s not the only manager who has had a tough year.

“We had expectations here,” Piniella said. “So far, they haven’t been as fulfilled as we anticipated. There are other teams that have had similar problems.”

He is signed through next season, and has said the Cubs job will be his last one.

“[After this] I’m going to go home and enjoy my life,” he said. “But I’m still competitive, I still come to the ballpark and the losses hurt. If the losses didn’t hurt, then I’d know it would be time to leave. That’s the biggest telling sign for me. If we lost a ballgame like we did last night and it wasn’t painful, well, then I don’t belong in this business. I care, I want to see this thing go. But I am an employee, only an employee. Ownership, the front office, they make the decisions on whether managers stay or come back more than the manager does.”

Since he began managing in 1986 with the Yankees, Piniella has never been fired.

“There’s always a first time for anything,” Piniella said.

However, the last six years he has managed, including Tampa Bay, the ownership has been in transition. The Tribune Co. announced on Friday the Cubs had been sold to the Ricketts family.

Piniella doesn’t understand why there’s been speculation that he would leave the Cubs after the 2009 season.

“I’ve never once said anything that’s different,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

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