Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

April 2008 Archives

Pick the lineup

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Cubs manager Lou Piniella feels the media fantasize about the Cubs' lineup. Knowing most of the media, Cubs lineups are deep on their list of fantasies. Judging from our e-mail, fans have their own fantasies about lineups.

So here's your chance. With Alfonso Soriano set to come off the disabled list Thursday, there will be a new dynamic to the Cubs' lineup. How would you fill out the top eight?

The Cubs recalled Matt Murton from Class AAA Iowa and optioned Eric Patterson.

Hey, man, booooo!

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Dusty Baker returned. And got booed. Just like the ex-Cubs manager said the fans at Wrigley would do before the game. But that didn't keep the new Cincinnati manager from smiling and looking happier than he has in years, at least around here.

``Life is good,'' he said behind the batting cage about an hour before the game. ``My life is real good.''

Lou's lost investment opportunity

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While talking about fiery pitcher Carlos Zambrano's angry outbursts during games gone wrong, Cubs manager Lou Piniella remembered being charged for water coolers he broke with his bat during his playing career -- four or five, by his estimate, at about $250 to $300 a pop.

But he made sure to make a point each time he had to pay up.

New year, same Big Z

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He might be off the caffiene and energy drinks but even a better hydrated, less jacked-up Carlos Zambrano is no less hulking, animated and reactionary on the mound than he ever was. Anyboyd watching Friday's game on TV saw that in the Phillies' decisive sixth inning when Pat Burrell drove a run-scoring double over lead-footed Daryle Ward, who was in right field getting his first start of the season.

It's the buddy system for Lou

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Only Bobby Cox has been kicked out of more games than Lou Piniella among active managers, but the Cubs' skipper wasn't about to bite when asked if -- like Ozzie Guillen's public beef with umpire Phil Cuzzi -- he had any problems with particular umpires.

``The umpires are all my buddies,'' Piniella said, smiling.

The Cubs plan to move up ace Carlos Zambrano a day to pitch tomorrow's series opener at Philadelphia, taking the spot of Jason Marquis, who's still recovering from the flu. Zambrano will be pitching on his natural fifth day because of this week's off day.

Kosuke rising

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Apparently, Lou Piniella dislikes answering questions about his lineup so much he brought up his next plan before a question was specifically asked about it -- with Kosuke Fukudome probably getting his first regular-season look in the No. 2 spot of the order Wednesday.

Flipping, flopping and musing

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So Lou changes the lineup after two games and puts Soriano back in the leadoff spot? What's the big deal? Piniella's still well behind the pace he set last year when he used 125 different lineups. And Soriano -- well, he may be ill-suited for the leadoff spot, but he's even less suited for No. 2.

Say it ain't Yosh

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We all knew the day was coming, but it was still a sad page in Cub history that marked the end of the lengthy chapter of clubhouse man Yosh Kawano's career -- its 65-year span going back two years before the Cubs' last pennant.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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