Notes: Guzman ramping up for start

Notes: Guzman ramping up for start

ST. LOUIS -- Angel Guzman will rejoin the Cubs this weekend so he can get a side session with pitching coach Larry Rothschild before his start Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Guzman is taking over the fifth starter spot, and tuned up with a 76-pitch outing Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. In the Iowa Cubs' 7-4 win over Memphis, Guzman gave up two runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings while striking out five.

"The quote from the Triple-A manager, Buddy Bailey, was that [Guzman] threw better than the numbers," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Guzman opened the season with the Cubs, but was being used in long relief. In four games with the big-league team, he gave up two runs on eight hits over 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight.

The right-hander will replace Wade Miller in the rotation. Miller was placed on the disabled list with back spasms, and did throw on the side Friday.

The Cubs plan on sticking with 12 pitchers, which means when Guzman comes up, a position player will have to be taken off the 25-man roster to make room. That decision will come Tuesday.

Playing time: Cesar Izturis won a Gold Glove in 2004, was named to the All-Star team in 2005, and even had a bobblehead doll made in his honor when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But now he's on the bench for the Cubs while Ryan Theriot gets the start at shortstop.

"I'm going to let Theriot play for a little bit, and we'll see where it goes," Piniella said. "I'm trying to win baseball games. I thought that getting Theriot in the lineup would give us a boost. He's an energy guy, like I mentioned."

"I want to play every day," Izturis said, "but the situation right now is tough."

Theriot was batting .339 going into Friday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Izturis was hitting .184. Ronny Cedeno, who was hitting .100 in 14 games, also finds himself on the bench.

"If we had doubleheaders every day, I wouldn't have these problems," Piniella said.

Izturis, whom the Cubs acquired for Greg Maddux last July, was a little surprised at being benched.

"It's early," he said, "but it's Lou's decision, not my decision.

"I think it's going to be fine," Izturis said. "I'm ready. When he needs me, I'm there."

Piniella is trying to get everyone into the games. Counting Friday's game, the Cubs have used 17 different lineups in the first 22 games, including a different batting order in each of the last 12 games.

Home sweet home: The Cubs are 4-9 at Wrigley Field, and probably happy to be on the road. Not so fast, Piniella said.

"I contend we'll play well at Wrigley," Piniella said Friday. "We've lost some tough one-run games there. We're going to get better at home. You give me a choice of playing at home or playing on the road, and I'll take home all the time. It's a fun place to play, a lot of excitement. For a team to play good, they have to be good on their home park."

The Cubs have lost three extra-inning games at home, and five one-run games.

"It's not like we've played poorly; we just haven't won," Piniella said. "If that's the way you get judged, then we've played poorly. The games have been very competitive."

Piniella is working on getting a set lineup, but feels he has a good feel for the team now. How long it will take to change the image of the Cubs as lovable losers is another thing. Friday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch listed seven reasons why the Cubs won't win the World Series. Piniella isn't too concerned about changing the culture of the Cubs.

"We just need to play good baseball," he said. "I don't know anything about culture. If you play good baseball, you forget culture. If you play good baseball, you'll win games. All we need to do is play good baseball. Culture -- I saw that in the St. Louis paper, seven reasons. I don't buy into that junk."

What were the reasons?

"who knows? It looked like the seven fountains of Rome," Piniella said.

What he meant, maybe, was the seven hills of Rome. Or, it could've been "Three Coins in the Fountain," a movie and song about the Fountain of Trevi in Rome.

Mirror, mirror: When Ted Lilly was starting out in the Minor Leagues, he was a fan of Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz. Lilly is left-handed, Smoltz is right-handed, so what Lilly would do is watch Smoltz pitch but do so looking at a reflection in the mirror.

"I used to do that in the Minor Leagues, the first couple years," Lilly said. "I tried to watch John Smoltz's delivery a lot. I'd watch him in the mirror because it was a reverse negative, so he'd be pitching left-handed. It was a little unusual, but it was interesting."

What he wanted to see was Smoltz's delivery, not necessarily how he set up hitters.

"I liked his mechanics," Lilly said.

So, the end result is he's a left-handed John Smoltz?

"Minus about six or seven miles an hour," Lilly said, "and one of the best sliders in the game."

Lilly may have wanted to throw like Smoltz, but he discovered he had to stay true to himself.

"I paid attention to what he did and tried to take some of those things," Lilly said. "I think if I tried to do everything like someone else did, I don't know if it would work for me. You can equate it to golf swings. It's amazing how many different swings are out there that win tournaments."

Good cause: Michael Barrett will take part in a silent auction at Gino's East restaurant to benefit Project 3000 on May 1-6. Among the items to be auctioned are a white "W" flag signed by the entire Cubs team. The auction will be held at Gino's East at 162 E. Superior Street in Chicago, and fans are invited to come to the restaurant to bid on the items. The other items to be auctioned include a Barrett catcher's mitt, chest protector and cleats, Cubs jerseys, bats and balls, and four tickets and a field pass to a Cubs game this season. Winning bidders not present May 6 will be contacted by the restaurant. Barrett will take part in a meet and greet at the restaurant on May 6 from 7-10 p.m. CT.

Project 3000 is the nonprofit organization Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee established to find a cure for Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, a form of blindness which afflicts his daughter, Jada.

Extra bases: Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis, who started Friday, will get his World Championship ring prior to Saturday's game. ... Lee has reached base safely in his first 21 games this season, and hit safely in 19 of them. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last Cubs player to reach base in his first 21 games of the season was Ron Santo. He began the 1973 season by reaching base safely in 22 consecutive games. ... On Wednesday, left-hander Sean Marshall gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk over six innings for Class A Daytona while striking out four. It was Marshall's first game -- he'd been slowed by shoulder fatigue this spring -- and he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa after the win. ... Dave Otto filled in for WGN radio broadcaster Santo, who was resting at home after experiencing an irregular heart beat.

Minor matters: Mike Fontenot had three hits, including a home run in Triple-A Iowa's win. ... Sean Gallagher gave up three runs on three hits over two innings in Double-A Tennessee's 13-4 loss to Carolina. Chris Walker had two hits and is batting .301 for the year. ... Scott Taylor gave up five runs on nine hits over five innings in Class A Daytona's 6-4 loss to Jupiter. Nate Spears had four hits. ... Jose Pina gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings in Class A Peoria's 11-3 loss to West Michigan. Yusuf Carter had two hits, his fifth multi-hit game of the season.

On deck: Carlos Zambrano goes for his second win this month in Game 2 of this three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday at 2:55 p.m. CT in a game that will be broadcast nationally on FOX. Zambrano (1-2, 6.91 ERA) leads the National League in walks allowed (19), and his only win was in his second start of the season against the Brewers. St. Louis will counter with Adam Wainwright (1-1, 5.04 ERA).

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