3/11 Lou: "My job is to win"
This is the last year of Lou Piniella’s contract and he said Thursday he’s perfectly happy with his situation. Cubs team president Crane Kenney said they will talk “at some point” at season’s end about Piniella’s future.
“If he feels well and wants to keep going, we’ll have an interesting conversation,” Kenney said Thursday. “He’s done a great job. He’s raised the bar and that’s a little bit of the burden we all carry now. As I tell everybody in our organization, it’s a lot better than being picked to finish fourth or fifth and having everybody talk about failure all the time.”
Is it too early to talk about Piniella’s next contract?
“It is, it really is,” Piniella said Thursday. “I’m perfectly comfortable the way the situation is. I’m going to do the best job I humanly can do. Whether I was signed here for one year or signed here for five years, there would be no difference. My job is to get this team to win and that’s exctly what I’m going to focus on and nothing more.”
Kenney said Piniella has “raised the bar.” The team has posted winning seasons in Piniella’s three seasons at the helm. He’s the first Cubs manager to do that since Leo Durocher (1967-71).
“That’s one of the reasons I was brought here,” Piniella said. “I feel good about that. Still, we want to do more than I’ve done. This year here is no different. We’re going to get after it and put the best team we can on the field and win as many games as we can and when it’s all over, give ourselves a chance in postseason. That’s what we’re working for, that’s what we’re planning for and that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Piniella, 66, said there are no health issues to worry about.
“Last time [I checked], I’m not on life support,” Piniella said, laughing.
So, no problems?
“I was tired after last year,” he said. “It was a trying year, and we’ll leave it at that.”
The Cubs finished second in the National League Central in 2009 after winning the division in 2007 and ’08.
“My health is good,” he said. “God has blessed me in that aspect. You know what, like I said before, I don’t want my situation to be any kind of distraction at all. I want the focus on the baseball team, the players here, our won and loss record, the attendance — that’s the focus of this year, nothing more, nothing less. When this year is over, we’ll see what happens.”
— Carrie Muskat