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Notes: 'Welcome back, Cliffy'

Notes: 'Welcome back, Cliffy'

NEw YORK -- Some fans near the visitor's dugout at Shea Stadium held up signs reading, "Welcome back, Cliffy." Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd was a popular guy in his four years with the Mets.

So far with the Cubs, Floyd has started 18 games, and has 73 at-bats. He hasn't been playing as regularly as he anticipated when he signed with his hometown team.

"A lot of the things that we talked about in my contract negotiations haven't been exactly what I would like them to be," Floyd said Monday. "But you have to know what the situation is. I thought I'd be playing more, but at the same time with [Alfonso] Soriano playing left, it's huge for him and the team.

"Playing time is a little crazy right now when you have five guys who can play on a lot of teams every day," Floyd said. "You deal with it. I assume something has to happen sooner or later."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella has had to juggle playing time because of the overload of outfielders.

"[Matt] Murton deserves to play, Soriano's in the outfield. We've got [Jacque] Jones," Piniella said. "I appreciate the fact that he wants to play, but truthfully, when we play him, we've had to rest him for awhile because he's had some ailments. Everybody wants to play, and I appreciate that, but I only have eight spots in the lineup."

Has Floyd said anything to Piniella?

"I don't question anybody's decision," Floyd said. "I do the best I can when I play."

There are plenty of perks playing in his hometown of Chicago.

"You're done at 5 o'clock every day," Floyd said. "You can't beat it."

He also was recognized while walking around in New York on Monday.

"You're amazed at how many people remember you," he said.

Big Apple: Piniella also has a link to New York, having played and managed on the other side of town with the Yankees. He wears his 1977 World Series championship ring rather than his ring from 1990, when he managed the Reds to the title.

"That tells you my love for the organization," Piniella said of the Yankees.

He was asked about coming back to the dugout after taking one year off to do broadcast work.

"I don't like to analyze myself," Piniella said. "I'm older and I get more tired after the ballgame. I still enjoy it. I didn't realize there was so much hard work. You forget in a year and a half."

Managing the Devil Rays didn't discourage Piniella.

"I'm one of a few managers who's crazy enough to think he can win anywhere," Piniella said.

Even with the Cubs?

"I look forward to a real nice ending here," he said.

On the run: In the last two games against the Phillies, Soriano, Jones and Murton have each been thrown out at home. Piniella doesn't want third-base coach Mike Quade to change his ways.

"I think it's a byproduct of aggressive baseball and a byproduct that the Philly outfielders have good arms and strong, accurate arms to boot," Piniella said. "The way we've left men on base, I would rather get thrown out sliding into home plate than holding them at third base.

"I have no problem with [the baserunning]. If a guy's thrown out from here to the middle of the clubhouse, you wonder. If it's a bang bang play at home plate, no. Make them make the good play to throw you out."

Extra bases: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez strained his left knee Sunday, but started on Monday. He did not require any extra treatment. ... Michael Barrett was out of the lineup to get a day of rest, and also because Henry Blanco is 5-for-11 lifetime against New York's Tom Glavine. ... Wade Miller will make a rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander was 0-1 with a 10.94 ERA in three starts for the big-league team before he was put on the disabled list with back spasms. ... Asked if the pending sale of the Tribune Co. affected the Cubs, Piniella said no. "We don't feel it, we don't talk about it, we're not even concerned about it," he said. "That would never be an excuse here if we didn't play well." ... The Cubs will play the April 11 postponed game against the Astros on June 11 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field. Tickets to the April 11 game are not valid for the make-up game.

Minor matters: Mike Fontenot had four hits and two RBIs, Eric Patterson homered for the third straight game and Felix Pie had three hits and four RBIs, including a two-run triple, to spark Triple-A Iowa to a 17-7 win over Sacramento. Koyie Hill had three hits and four RBIs, and Micah Hoffpauir had three hits and three RBIs. ... Kevin Hart gave up 11 runs on nine hits over four innings in Tennessee's 11-2 loss to Chattanooga. Jake Fox had two hits, both doubles, and Billy Petrick pitched three hitless innings, striking out four. ... Class A Daytona had Sunday off. ... The Peoria Chiefs split a doubleheader with Wisconsin. Jacob Renshaw gave up five runs on five hits and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings to win the first game, 8-5. Josh Lansford and Alfred Joseph each had two hits. In the nightcap, Marco Carrillo gave up three runs on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. Jeremy Papelbon took the loss, giving up a walkoff homer.

Los Cubs: The Cubs and loscubs.com are partnering with Hoy, Chicago's only Spanish-language daily newspaper, and Telemundo Chicago to bring exclusive player interviews to Spanish-speaking Cubs fans. A series, titled "Conoce a Tus Cubs," or "Get to know your Cubs," will run through the end of the season. Telemundo newscasts will air weekly interview segments on Wednesday, and Hoy will offer further in-depth coverage on Thursdays. Video playback will be available on the Cubs' new Spanish language website, www.loscubs.com.

Cubs vs. Sox: Culver's will sponsor a charity softball game Friday at Lincoln Park Zoo between Cubs and White Sox faithful. The "So Good, It's Gone! Cross-Town Charity Challenge" will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chicago zoo, as the Farm in the Zoo is transformed into a regulation wiffle ball field.

Fans will have three swings to place a fair ball for charity. Culver's will donate $10 for each single, $25 for each double, $50 for each triple and $100 for each home run to the batter's choice of Cubs Care or Chicago White Sox Charities.

On deck: Carlos Zambrano will face red-hot right-hander John Maine on Tuesday night at 6:10 p.m. CT in Game 2 of this four-game series at Shea Stadium. This will be Zambrano's first test after some mechanical tweaks in his delivery after a loss to the Pirates. The game will be broadcast on WCIU-TV.

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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