05/27/08 7:03 PM ET
Edmonds getting time to find form
Piniella also wants to see what Hoffpauir offers
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Edmonds made his second straight start in center field Tuesday after missing most of the Cubs' series in Pittsburgh because the Pirates started three left-handed pitchers.
"Every time a right-hander has pitched, we've had him in the lineup," Piniella said of Edmonds, whom the Cubs acquired after he was released by San Diego on May 9. "Our hope is that he starts swinging the bat the way he has in the past. His experience and the fact he's played in winning situations, those things would help us immensely.
"Obviously, defensive play is important, and I recognize that, but we need for Jim to hit," Piniella said. "We'd like to see him do well."
There is no deadline for Edmonds. However, there is the matter of Micah Hoffpauir, a young left-handed hitter who also is with the team. He was called up when Daryle Ward went on the disabled list, and has appeared in seven games. He's 4-for-10 so far.
"I don't have time limits," Piniella said about Edmonds. "The only problem I have here as a manager is I have a young man named Hoffpauir, and I want to see what he can do, so it creates a little bit of a situation for me as a manager.
"Outside of that, there's no timetable on anything," Piniella said. "[Hoffpauir] has had two good springs for us, and he's hit the ball well. We'd like to have a little clarification also."
What that means is the Cubs and Piniella want to see what Hoffpauir can do at the big league level. He has a career .280 Minor League average, and he was hitting .324 at Triple-A Iowa before he was called up. One option this week was to give Hoffpauir a start and give Derrek Lee a day off, but Piniella is backing off that because the Cubs first baseman has been swinging the bat well.
Edmonds, meanwhile, is trying to find his swing. The biggest surprise for him so far has been seeing the talent level of the Cubs up close. He's been looking at the team from the St. Louis Cardinals side of the field for a long time.
"I think he's getting comfortable," Chicago's Mark DeRosa said. "Fifteen, 16 at-bats is no indication. He's come into a new situation as a guy who played for the arch enemy. His track record speaks for itself. I think he definitely needs a little time."
That's what Edmonds thinks, too.
"The media seemed to make me out to be a bad guy before I got here," he said. "The people outside the clubhouse have a different perspective of me. I know the guys in here appreciate me going out there and playing hard. They don't care what team you've been on and who you've played with or against. When you get in this clubhouse, you turn into a family member instantly. That's what's great for me -- is the guys have been great.
"I'm pretty open and pretty easy to get along with. All the things you've heard in the past are just rumors. I'm just here to have a good time and help the team win."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.