Yesterday, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced that outfielder Tyler Colvin had won the 24th spot on the Chicago Cubs, and he’ll act as the team’s fifth outfielder behind starters Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome, and fourth outfielder Xavier Nady.
“Everybody who is here has special merits,” Piniella said. “It’s just a question of which way we decide to go. We’ll probably sit down and talk about it at length. Everybody brings something to the table. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. We only have one spot. That’s the problem and there are four people left and we can only keep one.”
OK, if there are four left, then Colvin is in?
“If we can’t keep Colvin after the spring he’s had, something’s wrong,” Piniella said.
Colvin, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2006, said Saturday he won’t believe he’s made the big league roster until he’s traveling to Atlanta for the season opener. Has Piniella told him?
“I’ll help him today to get on the plane,” Piniella said. “He’s had a heck of a spring. My gosh, you should be rewarded for coming to Spring Training [like that]. Look at [reliever James] Russell — he hasn’t given up a run this spring and he’ll be with us. You reward the performance in spring. If not, there’s no sense in keeping statistics.”
It will come down to Piniella giving Colvin enough playing time to stay sharp. The Cubs have three veteran outfielders in Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome.
“I have to do that,” Piniella said about playing time. “I’ve talked to Jim [Hendry, general manager] about that. I’ve got to find some playing time for him. We don’t want him just making the club and being a defensive replacement. We want him to do a little playing.” cubs.com.
We’ve said it enough, and it needn’t have extended discussion here, but it is hard to see how Colvin will get more than a handful of at bats per week.
Still, the kid has earned a spot on the big club if he wants it, and it will certainly be a good thing for the Cubs to have a left-handed bat like his coming off the bench.