With three weeks left until Opening Day, it looks like Ryan Theriot will be the Cubs' leadoff hitter in an everyday lineup that manager Lou Piniella says is about ``80 percent'' set:
RF Kosuke Fukudome
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Marlon Byrd
LF Alfonso Soriano
2B Mike Fontenot
C Geovany Soto
Piniella said the second base battle between Fontenot and Jeff Baker hasn't been finalized, but Fontenot's in the clear lead, and Piniella wants to make a decision within the next two weeks.
But the leadoff spot looks settled at this point - and Piniella said he doesn't plan to use any kind of lefty-righty platoon with Theriot and Fukudome.
``I don't think so,'' he said. ``I think we'll stay the way I said. If Theriot doesn't play, then we can always move Fukudome to the one hole.''
The Cubs' leadoff spot has been a point of contention since Piniella became the Cubs manager in 2007 with 40-40 free agent Soriano arriving with him as the $136 million leadoff hitter.
Soriano remained the Cubs' leadoff hitter through two playoff appearances and through much of the first half of last season - until his lengthy slump and inability to run like he did earlier in his career prompted a move to the No. 6 spot.
Theriot, Fukudome and Reed Johnson got most of the leadoff starts after that.
--The Cubs skipped batting practice after they lost 45 minutes to a broken-down bus on the way to Tucson. Something to do with a ``generator hose,'' Piniella said.
--Ted Lilly, who has been on a rehab program coming off November shoulder surgery, is expected to start facing hitters in live BP - the final step before pitching in spring games - soon after he returns to camp Thursday following the birth of his first child. His son's name: Theodore Roosevelt Lilly IV.
--Backup shortstop Andres Blanco, who sprained his knee a little over a week ago, is expected to return to action by the weekend.
--Ramirez (sore triceps) and Lee (bruised foot) are both expected to get one more day off before returning to the lineup Thursday when the Cubs return from a day off.