2/21 Leadoff man & Sunday notebook

Both Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome have said they’d like to be the Cubs’ leadoff man. Lou Piniella said Sunday he’ll rotate both in the top spot this spring. He’d like to tab one player for the job.

“One thing for sure, we don’t have anybody here who will steal 40 bases,” Piniella said. “If Theriot develops a nice swing where he’s staying inside the ball good and hitting the ball behind the runner, that’s a nice option in the two-hole. … We’ll see. We’ll see who’s taking more pitches, who’s more selective, what the on-base percentages are.

“There are so many variables to this thing it gets a little too complicated,” he said. “We’ll try to simplify it and get as constant as we can with it. Spring Training will let us know.”

* Sunday’s rain prompted the Cubs pitchers to get their throwing work done indoors — sort of. They stayed on schedule by throwing in the partially covered batting cages. Some of the fastballs sure sounded good because of the echo in the metal-roof covered cage.

“I would pay a catcher to make that mitt pop as much as possible, I can tell you that,” Piniella said. “We’ve got some nice arms there. Inside, boy, that sound — it makes your fastball look about three or four miles an hour faster.”

* Ted Lilly is continuing his rehab and switching to more bike work than running to avoid aggravating his right knee.

“We’ve just got to be careful with him and bring him along slowly and not rush him and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Piniella said of the lefty.

* Angel Guzman is a few weeks away from actually throwing. He’s slowed following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month.

“He’s a big piece of our bullpen right now, too,” Piniella said.

* Monday is reporting date and the first full squad workout will be Tuesday at Fitch Park. Only four position players are missing: Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro. Owner Tom Ricketts was expected in camp as well on Tuesday.

* Belated congrats to Hiro Aoyama, Kosuke Fukudome’s interpreter, who ran in the Chicago Marathon last October and finished in 3 hours 24 minutes 41 seconds. He finished 3,151st. Next year, though, Aoyama doesn’t want to run in the Chicago race.

“If I’m running in the Chicago marathon [this year], that’s a bad thing for the Chicago Cubs because we’re supposed to be in the playoffs then,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat


1 Comment

If Fukudome can find the patience he had in the beginning of the 2008 season, he would be a great lead off man. I just fear his inconsistency. When he gets into a funk, his patience will turn into swinging out of his shoes at low sliders.

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