Piniella plots sharing plan for Cubs outfield
Manager wants to get Colvin two to three starts per week
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella plans on having a little chat with outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome at some point before the regular season begins to talk about sharing their playing time.
When the Cubs decided to keep Tyler Colvin on the 25-man roster, Piniella said he would give the rookie two to three starts a week. That's going to cut into at-bats for the three regulars as well as the other extra outfielder, Xavier Nady.
"I've got to find playing time for Colvin and I've got to get Nady in there occasionally, too, because he needs to get some at-bats and he needs to play some," Piniella said Wednesday. "I'll have to juggle a little bit in the outfield. It's doable. I'm not being asked to do anything impossible. I said if we carried Colvin, and he deserves to be here, no question, that we'd have to find playing time and we will."
Colvin entered Wednesday's game batting .457, which was third in the Cactus League and fourth in the Major Leagues. He's also the fastest player on the team and may hit second in the lineup when he is playing.
Veterans usually don't like days off. Byrd, who was part of a four-man outfield rotation last year in Texas, said he's never asked for a breather.
"I don't go in and ask for days off," Byrd said. "My goal at one point is to play 162 [games]."
Both Soriano and Fukudome have been slow to hit this spring. Soriano was batting .250 going into Wednesday's game with one home run while Fukudome was hitting .279.
"We'd like to see [Soriano] start swinging the bat," Piniella said.
Is the Cubs manager concerned?
"Spring Training has taught me in the years I've been doing this not to concern myself with too much of what you see here," Piniella said. "You concern yourself with more what you see when the bell rings. I'm going to go with my veteran players. I feel confident they'll get the job done. If not, we'll make some adjustments."
First baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez also don't like to take time off. Ramirez has yet to hit a home run this spring as well while Lee was hitting .188.
"Aramis, a day off does him good from time to time," said Piniella, who can start Chad Tracy at third if needed. "It will do Lee good from time to time, too. Right now I'm more concerned with my outfield rotation than anything else."
Lilly slated to make third start Sunday
MESA, Ariz. -- Ted Lilly could only prep for the next phase of his rehab while his Cubs teammates were packing their gear for Chicago.
Lilly, coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, will make his next start at 7 a.m. CT Sunday at Fitch Park. It will be his third start and he was expected to throw about 60 pitches.
"Now it's just a matter of getting my pitch count up and stamina up," he said Thursday, "to make sure I can get through longer innings and be prepared so when I come back at some point, maybe not my first start or two, be able to throw 100-plus pitches and feel good about it."
Counting Sunday, Lilly has three starts before he will be cleared to join the Cubs rotation. That would put him back with the big league team about the third week of April.
He will not be in Atlanta when the Cubs open the regular season on Monday.
"This is definitely not the way I'd like to draw it up," Lilly said. "All things being considered, just the fact that I'm healthy at this point and throwing the ball without any pain, I consider myself pretty fortunate. I'm definitely not going to complain about anything. I'm lucky as it is."
Angel Guzman also will stay in Arizona but he will be here for the rest of the year. The pitcher just began rehab of his right shoulder following arthroscopic surgery March 23 to repair a torn ligament.
"The pain is gone and I actually started therapy two days ago," Guzman said. "At least my shoulder is still attached to my body."
He expected to start throwing in six months.
"I'll be ready for next season," he said.
Fuld, Hoffpauir eye quick return to Cubs
MESA, Ariz. -- Both Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir were disappointed at the news they didn't make the Cubs' Major League roster.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella told the two that they were headed to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.
"I obviously didn't play as well as I hoped or expected," said Fuld, who was batting .147 in 21 games this spring. "Where I continue to need to improve myself is with the bat. It's disappointing the way I hit.
"It's not the first time I've started off slow," the outfielder said Wednesday. "In terms of confidence, I'm not too worried. I'm sure I'll bounce back fine. It's a long season."
Fuld, 28, played in 65 games last season for the Cubs, batting .299. He did come through for the team when called on.
"Spring Training is tricky," Fuld said. "You usually don't get a ton of at-bats. It's a pretty small sample size. There's nothing you can do about that. In a way, it's a lot like coming off the bench during the season. You have to make the most of your opportunities as limited as they may be."
So, he'll be ready when Piniella calls?
"Exactly -- I will," Fuld said.
Hoffpauir, 30, broke camp with the big league team last year and batted .239 in 105 games. This spring, he was hitting .239.
"I came here this spring with every expectation of making this team and that didn't happen," he said Wednesday. "I'll go to Triple-A and see what happens and I hope to get a callup soon and take care of business then."
Hoffpauir got a head start this winter working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo in Texas. Did Hoffpauir feel he had a good spring?
"Absolutely not," he said. "The adjustments we made I think are going to work in the long run. It's something I didn't feel absolutely comfortable with the first part of spring. For about 15, 30 at-bats, I didn't feel like I was where I needed to be. [Jaramillo] and I sat down and talked about it and I started to feel a lot better at the plate with a couple slight modifications from what we've done. I thought I was in contention for that last roster spot.
"I believe there's a reason for everything and somebody has a plan for me somewhere," he said. "I'll put my nose to the grindstone and get after it and hopefully good things will happen and maybe showcase for some other team. We'll see what happens."
The Cubs' spring roster is at 27, but Ted Lilly and Angel Guzman will open the season on the disabled list. Lilly is rehabbing from arthroscopic shoulder surgery and made his second spring start on Tuesday, throwing 45 pitches over three scoreless innings. Guzman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder earlier this month and will be out for the season.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.