Piniella plots sharing plan for Cubs outfield

Piniella plots sharing plan for Cubs outfield

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella plans on having a little chat with outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome at some point before the regular season begins to talk about sharing their playing time.

When the Cubs decided to keep Tyler Colvin on the 25-man roster, Piniella said he would give the rookie two to three starts a week. That's going to cut into at-bats for the three regulars as well as the other extra outfielder, Xavier Nady.

"I've got to find playing time for Colvin and I've got to get Nady in there occasionally, too, because he needs to get some at-bats and he needs to play some," Piniella said Wednesday. "I'll have to juggle a little bit in the outfield. It's doable. I'm not being asked to do anything impossible. I said if we carried Colvin, and he deserves to be here, no question, that we'd have to find playing time and we will."

Colvin entered Wednesday's game batting .457, which was third in the Cactus League and fourth in the Major Leagues. He's also the fastest player on the team and may hit second in the lineup when he is playing.

Veterans usually don't like days off. Byrd, who was part of a four-man outfield rotation last year in Texas, said he's never asked for a breather.

"I don't go in and ask for days off," Byrd said. "My goal at one point is to play 162 [games]."

Both Soriano and Fukudome have been slow to hit this spring. Soriano was batting .250 going into Wednesday's game with one home run while Fukudome was hitting .279.

"We'd like to see [Soriano] start swinging the bat," Piniella said.

Is the Cubs manager concerned?

"Spring Training has taught me in the years I've been doing this not to concern myself with too much of what you see here," Piniella said. "You concern yourself with more what you see when the bell rings. I'm going to go with my veteran players. I feel confident they'll get the job done. If not, we'll make some adjustments."

First baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez also don't like to take time off. Ramirez has yet to hit a home run this spring as well while Lee was hitting .188.

"Aramis, a day off does him good from time to time," said Piniella, who can start Chad Tracy at third if needed. "It will do Lee good from time to time, too. Right now I'm more concerned with my outfield rotation than anything else."