3/27 Lou on Colvin: "He wants a spot"
Tyler Colvin is batting .475 this spring after going 4-for-5 on Saturday, and may have locked up a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.
“He’s not looking for a roster spot,” Lou Piniella said. “He’s looking for somebody’s position.”
The 2006 No. 1 Draft pick may have convinced the Cubs that he’s ready. The question is, can they give Colvin enough playing time?
“Remember what I said about four, five, six days ago that if he’s on our team, we have to play him some?” Piniella said. “He’s making it very easy to do that.”
When the regular season begins, Xavier Nady will not be able to throw full speed. Piniella also has said he’d like to give the regulars more rest to keep them fresh. It could work.
“You don’t want a young kid like that just sitting and being a defensive replacement,” Piniella said. “So, basically if he’s here, he has to play a couple days a week to get some at-bats and see how he does.
“I have a good left fielder in [Alfonso] Soriano, I have a good center fielder in [Marlon] Byrd, and I have a good right fielder in [Kosuke] Fukudome,” Piniella said. “The spring that this young man has had has opened up a lot of eyes. He put some weight on over the winter, he put on some muscle. We’ve noticed he’s banged the ball around all spring and he’s played very well in the outfield. That being said, I have three professional outfielders who have had long careers and good ones and this kid is going to have to be patient, that’s all I’m saying.”
The other reality is the Cubs have committed $202.3 million to Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome and Nady.
Colvin was on a mission. He added 25 pounds of muscle after a tough offseason workout program with the Cubs strength coach, Tim Buss. It has paid off.
“We noticed right from the start of Spring Training at Fitch Park that he was taking some really good batting practice and driving the ball left center, right center,” Piniella said. “We wanted to see when Spring Training started how that would translate into these games. He’s taking aggressive passes. He looks like a Major League hitter up there.”
He may be the best runner on the team as well. Colvin did get thrown out trying to steal Saturday but that’s because someone missed the hit and run sign.
“He’s saying to us, ‘Hey, get my name in that lineup and I can get some things done,’ and that’s what he’s doing,” Piniella said. “It’s good to know that one of our good young players is really stepping up and making it very interesting.”
— Carrie Muskat