6/5 Leadoff man

The last time Ryan Theriot drew a walk was the same day as the Kentucky Derby. Lou Piniella was hoping that since the Belmont was being run Saturday, Theriot might be a little more patient at the plate. But, he swung at the first pitch of the game and made an out.

Theriot went through the month of May with one walk and that was May 1. That prompted a little chat with the manager.

“I told him his job is to get on base and working the pitcher for a walk is part of that process,” Piniella said Saturday. “[Friday] night, he took a few more pitches but now as soon as he came up in a situation to drive in runs, he swung at the first pitch.

“One thing I can’t do is I can’t swing the bat for these guys,” Piniella said. “They’ve got to hit the ball. We can move them around a little bit.”

By the way, Theriot was 1-for-4 on May 15, the day of the Preakness, the second jewel in racing’s Triple Crown. Theriot had a .370 on-base percentage in April but that dipped to .257 in May, basically because of the lack of walks.

“Assuming he starts getting on base and starts getting a few walks, he’s a nice choice for us in the No. 1 hole,” Piniella said.

The Cubs won the National League Central in back to back seasons with Alfonso Soriano in the leadoff spot. What about moving him back to No. 1?

“We’ll keep him where he’s at,” Piniella said. “We’d like Soriano to drive in runs for us, and where he’s at, he’s in a position to do just that. He’s been streaky. He’s either hot or he’s cold. A little more consistency will help.”

— Carrie Muskat

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