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

Cubs rookie Colvin in -- now where does he play?

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Tyler Colvin can finally put in his seat request for the flight to Atlanta.

Two days after saying he wouldn't believe he made the team until he was on the team charter when the club breaks camp, manager Lou Piniella put the top performer in camp this spring on the plane personally - calling the rookie outfielder into his office this morning to make it official.

``It was never really a doubt for a while now,'' Piniella said. ``He played terrific.''

Colvin's roster clinch leaves one bench opening between veterans Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy. Piniella said that decision could come Tuesday.

As for Colvin, now comes the hard part: Where does Piniella find playing time to justify having the former first-round pick and highly regarded prospect on the big-league bench - the two or three starts a week he's talked about.

Especially in an outfield with at least two guys who expect to play everyday, in left fielder Alfonso Soriano and center fielder Marlon Byrd, along with a right fielder who, like Colvin, bats lefty and provides a harder matchup-based reason for swapping out.

``I said it would be good for all of our outfielders to get a day off occasionally, so they can say strong and less prone to injury,'' Piniella said. ``So we'll figure out something in the next few days.''

Colvin finally believed he made the team even before Piniella called him into the office, after receiving countless texts and phone calls Sunday after Piniella's confirmation of the decision was reported by several news outlets.

And the last thing he's worried about right now is how many at-bats he's going to get, considering they're all going to be coming in the majors.

``I can go back to what Lou said, probably two or three starts, give everybody a day off,'' he said. ``That's all I could ask for right now because we've got four great outfielders here who have proven themselves in the major leagues, and hopefully when I get in there I can contribute in some ways.''

Having already made his big-league debut with a short stretch at the end of last season, Colvin hopes that gives him a chance to hit the ground running this time around.

``I got to get comfortable with the big crowds, and I think that's the biggest thing,'' he said. ``You get to see all these players on TV, and you're like, `Man, I could be there some day. I could be there some day.' And then you get there and you realize it's just still baseball, just at a little higher level. And that's something you have to adjust to, and obviously the crowds, and that's something you really have to control yourself, playing in front of the crowds and not trying to be somebody you're not.''

Of course, the way he's played, he'd be winning a starting job in some camps at this point. But even though he's a first-round pick who was considered on his way to an everyday major league job from the day he was drafted in 2006, he's stuck behind three multi-year contracts in the Cubs' outfield, none of which expire before the end of next season.

``They're trying to win,'' he said of watching the Cubs sign free agent outfielders as he neared this point in his career. ``And when you get proven players like that to come in here like that and do what they're supposed to do, you can't be upset with that, because I'm right with them - I want to win, too. And if that means we sign two more outfielders, great, because if that's what we need, that's great for the team.''

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I think the plan is to use him in all three outfield positions, as has been stated by various Cub management people. I think that's a solid plan.Fuld can then fill in for defense in late innings and can pinch-run.The Cubs now have solid versatility for both the outfield and infield and have protected themselves from potential injuries proving disastrous because of too weak a bench.This season should be a joy to behold for us Cub fans.

I just noticed that Fuld was sent down to the minors, no doubt to make room for Nady. I guess I'm okay with that move, but Nady seems a greater unknown to me than Fuld. I still can see some of the absolutely brilliant defensive plays Fuld made, and hope he is brought back up soon. The onlu problem is figuring out whom he would replace on the roster. The one weak spot I see on the Cubs is at catcher. Hill is adequate defensively and calls a good game, but he is virtually always an easy out.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on March 29, 2010 1:09 PM.

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