Notes: Lawton leads off in debut

Notes: Lawton leads off in debut

PHILADELPHIA - Matt Lawton walked into the Cubs clubhouse with a Pirates travel bag.

"I guess I need to change this," Lawton joked.

The newest member of the Cubs was acquired from the Pirates for outfielder Jody Gerut before last Sunday's 3 p.m. CT no-waiver trade deadline.

"When I got the official call, it was a relief, overwhelming," Lawton said. "It's a chance to play in Chicago, and I'm just excited to get it going. I was hearing a lot of stuff like Baltimore, the Yankees, Boston. I never really heard Chicago. I guess that's how it is. ... You just fly under the radar."

Lawton, an 11-year veteran who earned All-Star berths in 2000 and '04, was immediately plugged in as the leadoff hitter and left fielder for Tuesday's game at Philadelphia.

"He has a very good on-base percentage," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a clutch hitter and he knows how to play. It should be a couple-day adjustment playing left field instead of right. He will be a welcome addition for us."

Lawton went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his debut with the Cubs on Tuesday and is hitting .274 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs. The Cubs are hoping he'll be the spark they need.

"From what I heard, he's a solid player," said Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. "I'm excited he's here to help us."

Lawton said it's thrilling to join a team with a legitimate chance of reaching the playoffs.

"It's ridiculous when you look down that clubhouse at all the big-name players that are here," Lawton said. "It's a dream come true. It's something I've been asking for. It's the first time where I feel like I don't have to be the guy. I feel like I can go out and do my thing with a good supporting cast."

Lineup shuffle: Baker moved his lineup around to help accommodate Lawton. Jerry Hairston moved to second and Todd Walker shifted to sixth in the Cubs lineup.

"I put Walk sixth because I needed a bat behind Aramis Ramirez so they don't just pitch around him," Baker said. "I didn't want to put two lefties back-to-back."

Still going strong: If the pressure of competing for a Triple Crown is getting to Lee, he's not showing it.

Lee began Tuesday's game hitting .360 with 32 home runs and 83 RBIs. He doubled in his first at-bat against Philly's Vicente Padilla.

"It's really tough to do it, so I don't really think about it," Lee said. "It doesn't matter. I just want to get in the playoffs. That's all I worry about."

Rehab starts: A pair of Cubs made crucial rehabilitation starts on Tuesday night. Pitcher Kerry Wood threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Class A Peoria Chiefs in their game against the Kane County Cougars.

Nomar Garciaparra was hitless in four at-bats for Double-A West Tenn against the Huntsville Stars, but played the entire game. Garciaparra was 1-for-2 on Sunday.

If all goes well for Wood and Garciaparra, they could be activated on Thursday and join the team on Friday in New York. It's possible for pitcher Scott Williamson to join the team on Thursday as well.

"We'll deal with all that as it comes," Baker said. "There's always tough choices."

On deck: Jerome Williams (3-4, 4.61 ERA) will oppose Phils rookie Robinson Tejeda (2-2, 2.95) on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. CT, while Mark Prior (7-3, 3.26) will face Brett Myers (9-5, 3.21) in Thursday's series finale at noon CT.

Andy Jasner is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.