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Cubs' time for Pie might not be now

Cubs' time for Pie might not be now

Hot topic: Is Felix Pie ready for the big leagues? Or would he be better served starting in the Minor Leagues? Pie, who turned 22 on Feb. 8, batted .283 in 141 games for Triple-A Iowa with 15 homers and 57 RBIs. He struggled this winter playing for Licey in the Dominican Republic, batting .219 in 32 games with five doubles, no homers and 13 RBIs.

Pie did play center field exclusively in the Dominican, and could play either corner. The feeling in Cubs camp is that when they promote him to the big leagues, it will be to stay. Right now, there aren't any openings.

On the move: New Class A Peoria manager Ryne Sandberg and his former teammate, Jody Davis, who will manage at Class A Daytona, are hosting players at HoHoKam Park as part of a pre-Spring Training minicamp.

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On the pine: Brian Dopirak was limited to 52 games last season at Double-A after fracturing a bone in his left foot. He was on the DL from April 7-June 2, and again Aug. 12.-Sept. 5. He had tried to come back but needed a second surgery. In his limited at-bats, he hit .257. At the end of December, Dopirak was cleared to do baseball activities. "I feel really good," he said. "I don't feel behind at all in conditioning."

Names in the game: Former Cubs pitcher Mike Harkey is the new pitching coach at Triple-A Iowa. Harkey pitched for the Cubs from 1988-1993, including a 12-6 record and 3.26 ERA in 27 starts in 1990. He also made stops with the Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, California Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.

They're No. 1: Outfielder Tyler Colvin, the Cubs' first-round pick in 2006, is in the big-league camp. He has added 20 pounds of muscle this offseason. Colvin batted .268 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs in 64 games with Class A Boise last season. He batted third, and posted a .303 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Class of '06: Jeff Samardzija, the former Notre Dame wide receiver and fifth-round pick by the Cubs, has been keeping pace with the other pitchers, and impressing the Major League staff. "He's got one of the better arms in camp," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "His ball comes out of his hand really easy and it's got some good life to it."

Stat machine: Chris Walker broke the West Tenn record for hits in a season last year with 150, and tied the franchise record for triples in a season with 11. He led the Southern League with 50 stolen bases and hit .292 overall.

What they're saying: "He's a great guy. He'll help this team a lot. I'd like to play together with him. We'll see what happens." -- Pie, on countryman and teammate Alfonso Soriano

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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