2/23 Cubs Tuesday notebook

Expect to see Mike Fontenot at shortstop a little this spring. It’s not that Fontenot is challenging Ryan Theriot for the job with the Cubs but Lou Piniella wants players who are versatile. Heading into camp, Fontenot and Jeff Baker are the candidates for the starting second base job.

“We’re not going to put anybody else in that mix,” Piniella said. “Baker did a real nice job when he came over last year. Does he have the inside track? I’d say it’s just dead even now and let ‘em battle out. Fontenot needs to get back to where he swings the bat like he did the first year. One little advantage in Fontenot’s favor is the fact that he’s left-handed and we’re a lot right-handed lineup-wise. We’ll see. It’ll either be Baker or Fontenot in the lineup.”

Will the Cubs test Theriot at second base? No, Piniella said.

“We will put Fontenot at times at shortstop,” Piniella said. “We’ll see how he handles the shortstop position and not to play regularly but just to backup. Theriot will stay at shortstop.”

* Derrek Lee was happy to be reunited with his former Florida teammate, Kevin Millar.

“He’s probably the funniest guy I know,” Lee said. “I woke up this morning looking forward to seeing him. He’s a fun guy and he’ll make a difference in here.”

* Kosuke Fukudome showed some power in batting practice on Tuesday.

“He’s talked to Rudy [Jaramillo] a little bit about changing his mechanics hitting-wise,” Piniella said. “He’s made a couple adjustments and is stroking the ball well. He’s keeping his upper and lower body in a little more, shortening his stride so he’s not lunging forward. He looks good, he really does.”

Did Fukudome do more weight training this offseason to be hitting balls out of the park?

“It was the wind,” Fukudome said.

– Carrie Muskat

5 Comments

With his range and arm, Fontenot would make a great shortstop. This is probably something the Cubs should have done a while ago, but they had other guys who could play the position. If he can cover short, the Cubs won’t have to carry so many infielders.

My problem with this plan is leaving Blanco out of the equation. Frankly I think Blanco should be starting at SS with Theriot at second. I will be very surprised if Fontenot is able to step in and play SS as well as Blanco. After the way Blanco played in the off season I think he deserves a shot to at least back up SS especially considering there is no guarantee that Fontenot is going to hit better this season.

pman, I AGREE ENTIRELY…whataya think of that??
I’m afraid Blanco may wind up being the odd man out because he is not an offensive juggernaut and we all know this regime puts offense first. I hope he isn’t left out in the cold just so Pinella/Hendry can keep another AL type DH player in Millar on the team, we already have too many of those….

Joey, this is weird and I may have to mark this day on my calendar! Let me take a minute to soak this in……………… I also agree with your comment, also weird! The Cubs definitely don’t need another AL DH type of player on the bench. Give Blanco a chance, he’s earned it!

I remember seeing Andres Blanco make every routine play and some spectacular plays as well and if I’m not mistaken (which I am not!) his bat had some life to it as well, especially hitting to right field. He and Fuld earned their way on the team not just by “hanging in there” but with the talent and abilities they have shown. Might as well save some payroll money with these younger guys that are very capable at the least instead of spending money on some fringe, veteran players on the downside of their career.

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