Piniella Remaining Optmistic

Despite a host of problems, on offense and defense and with injuries, Cubs manager Lou Piniella remains optimistic.

"How many below-.500 seasons do the Cubs have in their franchise history?" Piniella asked Sunday. "We're (two games) under .500, and we've had all kinds of problems here. It's not where you're at in June. It's where you finish, and hopefully, we'll finish a lot better than where we're at now.

"Frustrating? The injuries sort have taken away a little bit of (what the) club can do. But you know they're part of the game, too."

Piniella has lamented his team's lack of timely hitting all season long. After Sunday's 6-0 loss to the White Sox, he said the defense would need shoring up, too, in the wake of some sloppy play.

The Cubs are due to get third baseman Aramis Ramirez and reliever Angel Guzman off the DL soon, and Piniella's hope is that the team will stay close enough to make a move.

"I still cling to the fact that we're going to have a good second half of the season, and the second half, I'm not talking about after the All-Star Game," he said.

"We can start the first of July. It can start today, for that matter. I think that when it's all said and done, people will be pleased with what we do the rest of the year. I cling to that, and that's it."

WHITE SOX 6, CUBS 0: The Cubs managed just four hits and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. RHP Carlos Zambrano lasted just 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and five runs, four earned. The Cubs fell to two games under .500 (35-37) for the first time all year.


--Zambrano had his streak of five straight quality starts end. In his previous four starts, he went at least seven innings. Zambrano said he did not feel as sharp Sunday as he had in recent outings.

--1B Derrek Lee has picked up at least one hit in 24 of his last 25 games, during which he's gone 34-for-97 (.351). Lee leads the team with 39 RBIs.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- The Cubs entered the week having played seven extra-inning games in June, most in the majors. The team record for one month is eight, set most recently in September 2004.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't have the same set of rules as other people. I've made some mistakes in my past, so I don't get the leeway other people get. To a certain extent, I guess that's fair." -- RF Milton Bradley on being sent home during a game last Friday.


--Ramirez reported some soreness in his left shoulder Sunday after Saturday's session of batting practice. He took a light session Sunday. Ramirez, recovering from a dislocated left shoulder, is due to go on a minor league rehab stint soon. He has been out since May 8.

--IF Aaron Miles continues to be hampered by a sore right elbow. The Cubs may decide Monday whether they need to put him on the DL. If that happens, look for them to recall IF Bobby Scales from Class AAA Iowa (Des Moines).

--IF-OF Jake Fox will see additional time at third base because of his productive hitting, according to Piniella. Fox, a rookie, was the Cubs' DH Sunday. He's batting .326 with two homers and 11 RBIs. He has been working on his infield defense with bench coach Alan Trammell, and the Cubs now appear comfortable with letting him play third.


Ramirez (dislocated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 9. He hit soft-toss pitches June 17, took full batting practice on June 26 and then a lighter session on June 27 after he experienced some shoulder soreness from the previous day's workout. He might start a rehab assignment in early July. He hopes to be back before the All-Star break.

INF/OF Ryan Freel (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 28. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa on June 15, and he was activated June 25.

OF Reed Johnson (stiff back) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 21.

RHP Angel Guzman (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list June 21.

LHP Jason Waddell (non-baseball-related medical issue) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13.

RHP Chad Fox (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 10. He might miss the remainder of the season.

--The Sports XChange



At Round Rock, Texas, the Cubs (40-36) were out-hit, 13-6, in the loss Sunday. 2B Luis Rivas (2-for-4) led Iowa with two hits. RF So Taguchi (1-for-5) hit his first home run to lead off the game. RHP Greg Reinhard (1-2) made his fourth start and suffered the loss, allowing five runs and eight hits in three innings. He struck out four and walked one.


At Sevierville, the Smokies (35-42 overall, 3-4 second half) were out-hit, 10-4, in the loss Sunday. RF Doug Deeds (2-for-4) led Tennessee with two hits and is batting .354 (17-for-48) in 14 games since joining the team from Iowa. RHP Jake Muyco (2-2) suffered the loss in relief, allowing the eventual winning run – a solo home run – in the ninth inning. RHP Marcos Mateo started and received a no-decision, allowing one run and five hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one.


At Fort Myers, Fla., the Cubs (37-34, 3-1) out-hit the Miracle, 10-4, in the victory Sunday. 2B Nate Samson (4-for-5, two RBI) tied a career-high with four hits to pace the offense. CF Brandon Guyer (1-for-4, RBI) hit his eighth double in 15 games since joining the team from Tennessee and is batting .386 (22-for-57) with hits in six consecutive games. RHP Andrew Cashner made his 12th start and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts. The Cubs' first-round pick in the 2007 draft lowered his ERA to 1.50 in 42 innings. LHP Dustin Sasser (5-2) earned the win in relief, allowing one run (unearned) and two hits in three innings.


At Grand Chute, Wis., the Chiefs (39-34, 1-3) scored nine eighth-inning runs and tallied a season-high 17 hits total in the victory Sunday. Peoria ended the game with 11 unanswered runs. The 15 runs were a season-high for the Chiefs. LF Drew Rundle (4-for-5) tied a career-high with four hits to pace the offense, and DH Josh Vitters (2-for-5, RBI), SS Ryan Flaherty (2-for-5, walk, two RBI), 1B Rebel Ridling (2-for-5, two doubles, three RBI) and RF Nelson Perez (2-for-6, two RBI) all had multi-hit games. LHP Jeff Beliveau (2-2) got the win in relief, allowing one run and two hits in four innings. He tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and walked two. RHP Aaron Shafer started and pitched five innings, allowing five runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked two.


At Boise, the Hawks (2-7) won manager Casey Kopitzke's first official game as the team's skipper after missing the first eight games of the season due to personal reasons. 2B Logan Watkins (2-for-4) and C Alvaro Sosa (2-for-3) led the team in hits. SS Hak-Ju Lee (0-for-3) was hitless to snap an eight-game hit streak to open the season, but walked to extend his consecutive on-base streak to nine games. RHP Robert Whitenack, the Cubs' eighth-round pick in the 2009 draft from SUNY-Old Westbury, made his first pro start and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits. LHP Jeff Antigua (1-1) earned the win in relief, tossing four scoreless innings and allowing three hits and one walk. He struck out three.


At Mesa, the Cubs (3-4) allowed 17 hits in the loss Sunday. They used six pitchers in the loss with RHP Diego Encarnacion starting and tossing three scoreless innings, allowing four hits. RHP Julio Pena (0-1) suffered the loss in relief with four runs and five hits allowed in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one. The Cubs collected eight hits with CF Jesus Morelli (2-for-4) collecting two doubles. 1B Charles Thomas (1-for-4) collected his first career double and C Juan Medina (2-for-4) added two hits, including his first extra-base hit of the season.

--Staff Reports

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