Fontenot enjoying chance to lead off

Fontenot enjoying chance to lead off

CHICAGO -- Mike Fontenot likes the idea of leading off, and with Alfonso Soriano sidelined, the second baseman may get a few more chances for the Cubs.

Fontenot was at the top of the order for the second straight game Thursday, subbing for Soriano, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a strained right calf.

"It's been a few years since I've done it," Fontenot said Thursday. "When I was coming up with the Orioles, I led off. I keep my same approach. I usually don't hack at a lot of pitches -- I try to see a few pitches, so it works out."

It's nice to be the one to get things started.

"It's cool to start everything off," Fontenot said. "You get more at-bats. It's cool to do it in the big leagues."

The Cubs could also flip-flop Fontenot and Ryan Theriot at the top of the order, or insert Eric Patterson, who was called up to take Soriano's spot on the roster. By having Fontenot at the top, it breaks up the left-handers in the Cubs' lineup.

"For me, it doesn't make much difference," Theriot said. "Mike can hit in either spot as well and can steal some bases. With Eric up here, too, he can do that as well."

"One thing is if you can swing the bat a little bit, you'll get the chance to play," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Fontenot is getting the starts at second while Mark DeRosa moves to left field to fill in for Soriano. It's a chance for Fontenot to be reunited with Theriot in the middle infield. The two were teammates for two years at LSU and went to the College World Series together with the Tigers in 2000.

"We've been doing it forever, so it's like second nature when we go out there," Fontenot said about playing with Theriot. "We just keep things simple."

It almost seems as if Fontenot could close his eyes, flip the ball and he'd know Theriot would catch it.

"You know your buddy's there," Fontenot said. "We've been doing it for a long time. I don't think it's a big deal whoever they put out there. Everyone does their thing. Personally, I have a comfort level with anybody out there, but it definitely feels good to get out there with Ryan."

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