Cubs manager Lou Piniella offered a cryptic quote this morning that should only fuel rumors of a pending deal to acquire center fielder Coco Crisp from the Boston Red Sox. Asked if projected Opening Day starter Felix Pie, who has been out of action because of a testicular torsion — or twisted testicle — is in danger of losing his starting job, Piniella said:
‘‘I don’t think so. As long as he’s fine, and there is no reason to assume he won’t be. What we have here in camp, he’ll be our center fielder.’’
It’s no secret the Red Sox have been scouting the Cubs in recent days. They are in need of veteran pitching with concerns about Curt Schilling (shoulder), who will open the season on the 60-day disabled list, and ace Josh Beckett (back).
The Cubs have three pitchers with secure spots in the rotation — right-hander Carlos Zambrano and left-handers Ted Lilly and Rich Hill. Right-handers Jason Marquis, Jon Lieber and Ryan Dempster are battling for the final two spots. Piniella said he expects to have a firm decision on his rotation a week from today.
‘‘Actually, the guys are making it easier because they are pitching well,’’ he said. ‘‘Whoever we choose, will have the luxury of throwing the ball well. The sad part about it is we can only use five. Somebody’s going to have to go in the bullpen.’’