Piniella focused on wins, not contract

Piniella focused on wins, not contract

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lou Piniella is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs and says it's too early to discuss an extension.

"It is, it really is," Piniella said Thursday prior to the Cubs' game against the San Diego Padres. "I'm perfectly comfortable the way the situation is. I'm going to do the best job I humanly can do. Whether I was signed here for one year or signed here for five years, there would be no difference. My job is to get this team to win, and that's exactly what I'm going to focus on and nothing more."

Cubs president Crane Kenney was asked about Piniella's status on Thursday.

"If he feels well and wants to keep going, we'll have an interesting conversation," Kenney said. "He's done a great job. He's raised the bar, and that's a little bit of the burden we all carry now. As I tell everybody in our organization, it's a lot better than being picked to finish fourth or fifth and having everybody talk about failure all the time."

The Cubs have posted winning seasons in Piniella's three years, and he's the first Cubs manager to do that since Leo Durocher (1967-71).

"That's one of the reasons I was brought here," Piniella said when told about Kenney's "raising the bar" comment. "I feel good about that. Still, we want to do more than I've done. This year here is no different. We're going to get after it and put the best team we can on the field and win as many games as we can ... when it's all over, give ourselves a chance in postseason. That's what we're working for, that's what we're planning for and that's what we're hoping for."

Piniella, 66, said there are no health issues to worry about.

"Last time [I checked], I'm not on life support," Piniella said, laughing.

So, no problems?

"I was tired after last year," he said. "It was a trying year, and we'll leave it at that."

That might have been because Piniella had to keep the team together despite injuries to key players such as Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Carlos Zambrano and the discord created by Milton Bradley. The 2009 Cubs finished second in the National League Central.

"My health is good," Piniella said. "God has blessed me in that aspect. You know what, like I said before, I don't want my situation to be any kind of distraction at all. I want the focus on the baseball team, the players here, our won and loss record, the attendance -- that's the focus of this year, nothing more, nothing less. When this year is over, we'll see what happens."

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