In what should have come as no great surprise, Cubs manager Lou Piniella today named shortstop Ryan Theriot the team’s leadoff hitter. Theriot had been in somewhat of a battle with right fielder Kosuke Fukudome for the No. 1 spot in the order. Early on in spring training, though, Lou said he liked the idea of Fukudome batting second and hitting behind the runner to the right side.
"I'm just glad he has the confidence in me to stick me up there," cubs.com quoted Theriot as saying after today’s 5-2 loss to the Rockies in Tucson. "I feel comfortable at the top of the orrder _ one, two. One's good, two's good. Honestly, just as long as I'm in the lineup. I cannot get (Lou) to let me hit fourth or fifth. I'm working on that, so we'll see."
It’s now up to Theriot to get his OBP up to his 2008 level of .387 instead of last year’s .343. Fukudome, by the way, had a .375 OBP a year ago. Theriot also will need to get his walks and strikeouts going in the right direction again. His walks fell from 73 to 51 from 2008 to 2009, while his strikeouts spiked from 58 to 93. As a leadoff hitter last year, in 173 at-bats, Theriot had a line of .283/.354/.289. Today, he went 1-for-3 and is batting .550 for the spring.
Also in the cubs.com story, Lou says Mike Fontenot has taken the lead over Jeff Baker in the second-base derby. If it ends up that way, that would give Lou two “left-hand” hitters in the lineup: Fontenot and Fukudome. It also would free up Baker to fill the super-sub role.
Tyler Colvin was 2-for-4 with an RBI today. He’s batting .517 as he attempts to win a backup outfielder’s spot. Big Z started and pitched 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 run. It was the Cubs’ last game at Hi Corbett Field. The Rockies and D’Backs are moving up to the Phoenix area for spring training next year. I missed out on going to Hi Corbett this year. It’s a quaint place, with home plate on the northeast corner, which means the sun beats down on the batter and everybody behind the plate as the day wears on. The Rockies writers figured this out quickly, and they always sit in the second row of the press box, leaving the visiting writers to bake in the front row. I still like the place.