Cubs will keep Colvin if at-bats are there
Piniella says Cactus League standout can't sit on bench
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tyler Colvin has a good chance of making the Cubs' Opening Day roster, but the team will only keep the outfielder if he can get a couple starts per week, Lou Piniella said on Wednesday.Colvin, the Cubs' No. 1 pick in the 2006 Draft, entered Wednesday ranking fourth in the Cactus League in batting at .436 before going 1-for-2 to raise his mark to .440. His 22 hits lead the Majors this spring. "First of all, Colvin has had an outstanding spring," Piniella said on Wednesday. "Colvin has played well enough to make this team. The concern is we don't want this young man to make this team and just sit. So, if he's on our Opening Day roster, he's going to get some playing time. He's just not going to sit." Could Piniella give him a couple starts each week? "I'm going to have to," Piniella said. "We just don't want a young player like Colvin to make the team and sit down and not play. If Colvin is with us, he's going to get some playing time. To his credit, he can play all three outfield positions. We just don't want him sitting. We'll see how it works out." The Cubs have long-term contract commitments to outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome. "If I didn't have Fukudome, Byrd or Soriano, [Colvin] would be a regular at one of those positions this spring," Piniella said. The Cubs still need to determine one extra outfielder, one extra infielder and one reliever. There are three extra outfielders in camp in Colvin, Jim Adduci and Sam Fuld. Adduci is batting .316 but has no big league experience. He can also play all three outfield positions. So can Fuld, who is 4-for-29 this spring and is viewed as more of a defensive sub. "I know if Colvin is here, my job is to get him some playing time," Piniella said. Among the extra infielders still in camp are Andres Blanco, Darwin Barney, Bobby Scales, Micah Hoffpauir and non-roster invitees Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy. Jeff Baker is in, although he's had a tough spring. Baker was 5-for-32 after Wednesday's game. "He's tried a couple different things," Piniella said. "I was looking at the numbers today for the first time. [Mike] Fontenot was hitting .297, and Baker was hitting around .160. What's important about Spring Training is the last week, 10 days, that you're swinging the bat." Besides Baker, Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill are set on the bench. Nady played the outfield for the first time in a Minor League game at Fitch Park on Wednesday and hit an RBI double. He also was hit on the hand by a pitch, but team officials said it was only a bruise. Baker can play third, and the Cubs wanted to give him some playing time in the outfield just in case. "We'll cut this roster down Friday, and we'll be pretty close to our Opening Day numbers, both pitching and position-player-wise," Piniella said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.