06/03/07 2:15 PM ET
Notes: Pie back in big show
Ward's injury opens door for highly-touted outfielder
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The Cubs' highly-touted outfielder was called up Sunday from Triple-A Iowa to replace Daryle Ward on the 25-man roster. Ward was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hip.
"We've been monitoring Felix from a daily basis," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Sunday. "We think the world of him. We want him to go out there and play and give us some energy.
"He can catch everything in the ballpark and he's worked hard on hitting left-handed pitching," Hendry said. "He's kept his numbers up extremely well at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can give us a spark. He can run like heck. Hopefully, he can give us a big boost."
Pie began the season at Iowa, was called up to the big-league team April 17 to May 9, and then was sent back to the Minor League team. He was hitting .389 overall for Iowa, including a .468 average against right-handed pitchers compared to a .156 mark against lefties. Pie batted .376 in May.
"We'd like him to play out there for a long time," Hendry said.
Pie batted second in his second turn at Iowa, and was hitting .367 in that spot in the order.
"Lou told me when he sent me down that if a guy's on second base, I have to get him over, so I did," Pie said. "I've been working hard."
In his first game back with Iowa on May 10, he went 3-for-5 and scored two runs. He's had 10 multi-hit games in the last 20, including a 4-for-4 game May 28 against Oklahoma. Pie had the right attitude when he was sent down in May.
"It's my job," he said. "If they sent me to rookie ball, I'm going to work hard."
"This is no extended trial," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We brought him up here to play. He's going to play."
Ward was batting .270 with five RBIs and 10 walks in 33 games for the Cubs. As a pinch-hitter, he was 3-for-18 with seven walks.
Fight doctors: Hendry said he will speak to both pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett on Sunday regarding the dugout scuffle between the two that escalated into a fight in the clubhouse.
"It's not excusable," Hendry said Sunday. "There are a lot of fights in Major League clubhouses during the year, but you certainly don't want to see it on national television and you certainly don't want to see it between your pitcher and catcher because things are going bad that day.
"That's a fixable situation," Hendry said. "It happened, it's over. Those things have gone on in sports for years, and people have come back and won and overcome that. First and foremost, we have to start winning some ballgames and start playing better baseball."
Barrett was not in the lineup Sunday but was available. Zambrano threw his normal side session. His next start will be Wednesday in Milwaukee.
"Michael will get back in there soon," said acting manager Alan Trammell. "Everybody thought it was best to give him another day. He is available. He's OK to go."
Top gun: Trammell, the Cubs bench coach, managed the team on Sunday while Piniella served a one-game suspension for his actions in Saturday's game. The length of Piniella's suspension will be determined Monday after he talks to MLB officials.
Trammell managed the Detroit Tigers for three years, including a rough first season in 2003 when the team was 43-119.
"This is a temporary deal and hopefully it's a day or two," Trammell said.
Piniella made out the lineup, but then told Trammell to run the game his way.
"I asked him, and he told me, 'You run it,'" Trammell said. "What I'd like to have is that we play a great ballgame, we score a lot of runs, and you take me out of the equation."
Trammell can empathize with Piniella, ejected Saturday after an animated exchange.
"I was kicked out of a few games in the three years," Trammell said. "It's nothing a manager pre-determines. Something clicks, something snaps. You go out there and something fuels the fire. I plan on sitting back, folding my arms and cheering."
At the plate: Rich Hill's double on Saturday was no fluke. The left-hander has been working hard on his hitting since his last start when he was lifted early for a pinch-hitter. Ryan Theriot and Angel Pagan have been in the cage with Hill and giving him helpful hints. Part of the advice included relaxing his hands and switching to a shorter swing.
The lefty also has been using a machine that fires fastballs at 150 mph. Hitters stand in and try to track the ball, and pick up colored numbers.
"Not by any means am I a hitter," Hill said.
He's working on it.
Extra bases: Hendry has not been with the team because he was scouting amateur players for the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, which is Thursday. The Cubs have the third pick overall. ... Cliff Floyd is still nursing a strained rib cage. Matt Murton said he felt better after being sidelined Saturday with a cramp in his back. "If I had to play, I could've," Murton said. ... Hendry has not talked to pitcher Wade Miller, who went to see the doctor who performed the surgery on his right shoulder as well as his physical therapist. ... For the upcoming series against the division-leading Brewers, Jason Marquis will start Monday, followed by Ted Lilly and Zambrano. The Brewers will counter with Dave Bush, Claudio Vargas and Jeff Suppan.
Minor matters: Neal Cotts gave up two runs on six hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings in Iowa's 4-2 win over Tacoma on Saturday. Cotts now has a 1.54 ERA. Tony Richie hit a game-winning two-run homer in the top of the ninth. ... Jake Fox hit a two-run homer in Tennessee's 6-3 loss to Birmingham. Justin Berg gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. ... Daytona scored seven runs in the seventh inning to post a 9-5 win over Dunedin. Brian Dopirak and Matt Matulia each had three hits. ... Jake Renshaw gave up four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings in Peoria's 6-4 win over Beloit. Russ Canzler, Jonathan Mota and Alfred Joseph each homered for the Chiefs.
In games Friday, Daytona pitcher Jeff Samardzija dropped to 0-5 after a 13-4 loss to Brevard County. Samardzija gave up a season-high eight runs on 10 hits over five innings, and his ERA now is 5.75. Tennessee's Sean Gallagher gave up one run on three hits over seven innings and struck out nine in a 5-1 win over West Tenn.
On deck: Marquis will open the Cubs' three-game series against first-place Milwaukee at Miller Park on Monday night. He's coming off a loss to Florida on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.