2/26 Lou predicts more offense

Lou Piniella predicts the Cubs will have a much better offense in 2010. He’s counting on players like Geovany Soto, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome to contribute.

“We need Soriano to bounce back and have the type of year he’s capable of,” Piniella said Friday of the left fielder, who batted .241 last season. “We need Fukudome. There’s no reason for ‘The Fook’ to hit in the .250s. He’s better than that — he should be hitting .285, .290. The home runs we don’t care about but doubles in the gaps, improve his batting average, improve his RBI production, he’s capable of doing that.”

Fukudome has made some minor changes working with new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.

“I think we’ll have a better bench, too, so we’ll see,” Piniella said. “I feel good about our offense. I feel good about how our 13 will be constituted in whatever way. We have some work to do with our pitching, we really do.”

Last season, the Cubs ranked 10th in runs scored and 12th in team batting average.

— Carrie Muskat

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