As promised, Cubs manager Lou Piniella took 1-for-7 right fielder Kosuke Fukudome out of the third spot in the order today, moving him to No. 2 and putting Derrek Lee back in the three hole.
The idea is to put the Japanese free agent in a more comfortable spot as he continues to adjust to unfamiliar American pitching, and he might move him again before settling on a spot for him.
``But believe me,’’ Piniella said, ``we’re not going to play around with it for too long. As soon as we get people healthy and put it together, we can come up with a determination pretty quick.’’
If Fukudome winds up batting second, that means a move to the No. 8 spot for Ryan Theriot.
Other camp notes this morning:
--Second baseman Mike Fontenot, who’s trying to win a utility infield job, is in today’s lineup as the shortstop – where he looked over his head in a brief try there last summer. But Piniella says he likes Fontenot’s bat and wants to give him a chance to make the club, which means he has to play more than one position. ``We better find out [whether he can play other spots],’’ Piniella said. ``It’s hard for a player competing for a spot on a roster if he can only play one infield position. So we’re going to see if he can play some short and maybe a little third.’’
--After a series of base-running gaffes the past two days, the Cubs went back to Little League instruction this morning and worked on situational base running, notably making the right decision on when to run from second to third based on where a ground ball is hit. ``You’ve just got to concentrate a little more,’’ Piniella said. That’s one way of saying it.
--Piniella raised the issue of depth concerns among the position players again this morning, but wouldn’t say whether he expected the club to add a player by the end of camp – as many others do – and said he hadn’t seen any of the crap-against-the-wall internet reports claiming talks between the Orioles and Cubs are back on. ``The only thing I do on the internet is trade stocks once in a while,’’ Piniella said. ``I don’t trade infielders. …And I certainly don’t read sports.’’