PITTSBURGH - With no help from the outside on the way anytime soon, Cubs manager Dale Sveum is turning to Joe Mather to pick up his flagging lineup.
It was either that or draw his lineup out of a hat.
``You never know. Sometimes you pick a lineup out of a hat and you win,'' Sveum said. ``I wasn't going to go that far.''
Considering a lineup that has been among the worst in the National League all season - and that average two runs a game over the past week - how far did Sveum come from the hat trick?
``Not too far,'' he said.
Instead, it was Mather - one of the team's most productive hitters, albeit in a part-time role - taking over the No. 3 spot in the order Friday and playing center field.
It was the first time this season the Cubs' No. 3 hitter wasn't Castro, who hit second Friday.
``It's time,'' said Sveum, who considered making this move after an ugly series against the Sox last weekend. ``The combination of not really scoring throughout the whole season and that Mather's been as good as anybody swinging the bat ... I'm going to give him an opportunity to see if he can spark us and drive the ball and do some things.''
That means a starting job until further notice, Sveum said, including some third base and possibly another position or two.
For now it means cutting into Tony Campana's playing time, but the tradeoff is extra-base potential.
``Right now, for a little while, I'm going to commit to Mather and see what happens,'' Sveum said.