Notes: Piniella fourth in manager vote

Notes: Lou fourth in manager vote

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella finished fourth in the balloting for National League Manager of the Year, released Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Piniella, who guided the Cubs to an 85-77 record and National League Central title in his first season in Chicago, received two first-place votes, three second-place votes and six third-place votes for 25 points. Arizona's Bob Melvin won the award, receiving 19 first-place votes and 119 total points. Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel and Colorado's Clint Hurdle finished second and third, respectively.

Piniella, 64, has won the BBWAA's top manager award twice before, winning American League honors in 1995 and 2001, both times with the Seattle Mariners.

Road trip: The Cubs are keeping an eye on Felix Pie. Hitting coach Gerald Perry went to see Pie in the Dominican Republic this offseason to outline a specific plan for the outfielder, who batted .215 in 87 games with the Cubs, and hit .362 for Triple-A Iowa.

Pie was hitting .205 through 13 games for Licey. With Monday's trade of Jacque Jones to Detroit, Pie could take over as the Cubs' starting center fielder. He has a career .301 average in the Minor Leagues.

Ryne Sandberg and Bob Dernier also saw Pie on Tuesday. Sandberg and Dernier are spending the week in the Dominican Republic to see some of the Cubs' Minor League prospects, as well as some Winter League games.

"It's fun for them, and the kids enjoy it, knowing they came down to see them on their turf," said Oneri Fleita, the Cubs player development director. "I told Ryno it serves a purpose from an instruction standpoint, because there may come a time when he has to remind them where they came from."

Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman for the Cubs, is coming off his first season as manager, having guided Class A Peoria to a 71-68 record. The Chiefs finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Western Division in the second half. Dernier is the Cubs' Minor League baserunning instructor. In the Dominican, they work out with players during the day and attend games at night.

2007 NL Manager of the Year Award Voting
Manager, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Bob Melvin, ARI 19 7 3 119
Charlie Manuel, PHI 7 11 8 76
Clint Hurdle, COL 4 10 8 58
Lou Piniella, CHC 2 3 6 25
Bud Black, SD   1 1 4
Manny Acta, WAS     4 4
Ned Yost, MIL     2 2

Sandberg has said he'd like to continue managing, and the Cubs will announce the Minor League assignments next month.

Renovations: Crews are expected to install new sod at Wrigley Field this week as the makeover of the ballpark's drainage system and turf continues. Crews have removed about 7,500 tons of dirt and will lower the playing surface about 14 inches. The work is being done because Wrigley was the only Major League ballpark that still had a "crown" to drain rainwater off the field.

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