Wanting to move Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot, where he might "feel pressured to run" and thereby risk re-aggravating hamstring and quadriceps injuries that troubled him in 2007, Cubs manager Lou Piniella slotted Ryan Theriot in the leadoff spot, had Soriano hitting second, and moved Kosuke Fukudome down to fifth for Thursday's Cactus League game against the Padres.
Theriot was 2-for-4, Soriano was 1-for-3, and Fukudome went 1-for-4 in the Cubs' 3-2 victory. That's a combined 4-for-11 with a walk and a run scored...and a victory. I guess that settles it. It's a good idea. Let's move on.
Seriously, if Alfonso Soriano is miscast as a leadoff man, his long swing and strikeout tendencies would seem to render him at least as much of a miscast in the two-hole.
Here is what Soriano told Carrie Muskat:
"I have to make a small adjustment hitting with somebody on base," Soriano said. "I want to be the same guy. Batting second is more hitting, and not really running so much."The "experiment" is supposed to be temporary–how temporary would seem to be a function of how productive the new-look Cub lineup is.
He should get more RBI opportunities.
"I think batting second I can help the club more," he said.
Jason Marquis had his longest outing this Spring on Thursday, throwing four scoreless innings against the Padres.
According to Paul Sullivan in the Tribune, Marquis picked the right time to blank the Padres, since the HoHoKam Park stands were full of other teams' scouts.
One line of thinking is that Marquis could be of interest to the Red Sox, from whom the Cubs might like to pry Coco Crisp. The Red Sox pitching staff has been thinned by Curt Schilling's latest injury and more recently, Josh Beckett's back problems.
It was Schilling's injury, however, that caused the Sox to sign Bartolo Colon as a free agent. Colon also threw on Thursday, allowing one run in two innings but maybe more importantly, hitting 93 on the speed gun.
Maybe the Red Sox will decide they need double insurance and pursue Marquis also.