Just in time for the Chicago Cubs’ rotation to go to something less than full strength, the team’s lineup appears ready to return in full.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, sidelined for a couple weeks with a strained calf muscle is set to return. Manager Lou Piniella hopes it’ll be tonight against the Giants.
When he does return, it’s going to be to a reconfigured lineup. The biggest change – long called for – is the move of Derrek Lee out of the 3-hole. To my mind, that’s a perfect spot for Ramirez, but Piniella has other ideas.
Manager Lou Piniella said he is leaning toward a change, especially because Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome have been performing so well in the second and third spots lately.
‘‘I like Theriot and Fukudome there,’’ Piniella said. ‘‘They’re doing a nice job, but we’ll see.’’
Injuries have kept the lineup in flux since the opening week. The original order had leadoff man Alfonso Soriano followed by Fukudome, Lee, Milton Bradley, Ramirez, Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto and Theriot.
‘‘We haven’t had it since the Houston and Milwaukee series,’’ Piniella said. ‘‘It’ll be nice [to have everyone]. We’ll change the combination a little bit when we get [them] back.’’ Sun-Times.
Considering Lou is obsessed with righty-lefty-righty-lefty-etc. as much as possible, I think we can expect a lineup something like this:
Normally, I’d say how can you bury Soto all the way at 8th. But the way he’s been hitting, it’s probably the right move. Of course, hitting in front of the pitcher isn’t going to help him see any better pitches.