4/9 Hill vs. Soto
Koyie Hill was back behind the plate for the second straight game for the Cubs. Part of the rationale is that the Cubs want Geovany Soto to catch Carlos Zambrano on Saturday, and didn’t want Soto to play Friday night and have a short turnaround. Soto is 1-for-6 in two games.
“I like the way [Hill] calls a ballgame,” Lou Piniella said Friday. “He’s a really good defensive catcher. When a team isn’t scoring many runs, the more defense you have on the field, the better. Is he going to catch more? We need Soto to hit, I’ve said that before. That’s the key to this whole thing is how well Soto swings the bat, and we’ll leave it at that.”
Soto, who batted .285 in 2008 but just .218 last year, has been working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. Piniella’s message isn’t that he’ll use Hill more than Soto. But the Cubs have scored nine runs in three games, and haven’t really manufactured any runs.
“Let’s just leave it that we need Soto to swing the bat,” Piniella said.
— Carrie Muskat