Quade still undecided about second base

Quade still undecided about second base

Quade still undecided about second base
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Mike Quade had plenty of reading material for the flight from Phoenix to Chicago on Wednesday. He's perusing two large red-covered notebooks loaded with statistics as he finalizes the Opening Day lineup.

Three spots are set -- Starlin Castro at No. 2, followed by Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez.

Still to be determined is who starts at second base. Rookie Darwin Barney has impressed the team with his defense and could get the nod, Quade said. Blake DeWitt started at third base on Wednesday in an intrasquad game.

"We need to get him swinging the bat," Quade said of DeWitt, who was 11-for-59 this spring.

Expect Kosuke Fukudome to be leading off against most right-handers this year. Quade wasn't fretting over the outfielder's .173 average this spring.

"He's somebody I don't worry about," Quade said. "I love his at-bats. I love that he sees a lot of pitches. He'll hit better than he did down here. He's always had a pretty good on-base percentage and that's what you're looking for in the top spot."

The Cubs also are counting on Fukudome to have another strong April. He has a career .326 average in the first month. How will Quade handle having four outfielders for three spots? He'll figure out a way to get Fukudome, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano enough at-bats.

"Sometimes that works itself out," he said. "If it's a headache for me all year, that means it's a good headache."

There is no Lenny Harris or Dave Hansen or Daryl Ward on the Cubs bench this year. They don't have a prototypical pinch-hitter.

"You hope that whoever has that off day, be it Colvin, be it [Fukudome], be it [Soriano], be it [Blake] DeWitt, be it [Jeff] Baker or Barney, those guys can all contribute swinging the bat," Quade said. "There can be an art to pinch-hitting. Those guys are versatile as heck, all capable of starting and contributing, so why wouldn't they be able to handle those pinch-hit roles?"