8/19 Colvin preps at 1st base

Before batting practice on Thursday, Tyler Colvin was asked if he had been secretly practicing at first base just in case he was needed there. Colvin did play first in high school and part time in college at Clemson.

“At night,” Colvin said with a straight face. “We’ve been practicing at midnight with no lights which makes it tougher.”

At that point, none of the Cubs coaching staff had said anything to him
about a possible switch from the outfield. That changed in minutes. Colvin was taking grounders at first on Thursday.

“I was a little bit surprised but I had enough people hinting toward it
the last week or so,” Colvin said. “I was a little surprised at the
timing.”

With Derrek Lee gone to the Braves, the Cubs have a huge hole in the lineup and infield. Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker can handle the position for now but Colvin, a left-handed hitter, may get some time there in the final six weeks.

“He’ll get some ground balls over there and we’ll do that for a couple days and see how he feels and how he does,” Lou Piniella said. “If we can look at him over there, it gives the new people a head start on what the options are.”

Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell, who works with the infielders, only made a few suggestions during Colvin’s workout Thursday, saying the athletic rookie looked comfortable. How did Colvin feel?

“There’s a big difference between taking ground balls off a fungo and taking line drives from Ryan Howard,” he said. “That’s what I have to get used to.”

He used his first baseman’s glove from college which his grandfather had sent him earlier this year as well as a new Wilson A2000 model he was trying to break in. When Colvin did play the infield in college, he wasn’t the every day first baseman either. His best spot really is left field. That’s Alfonso Soriano’s space. Maybe Soriano could switch to first?

“Whoa,” Soriano said. “Never. I didn’t want to play second base and I played second base for five years.”

– Carrie Muskat

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