Outfield Continues to Contribute for Cubs

Cubs right fielder Xavier Nady made his first start since April 24 on Tuesday, facing his former team, the Pirates.

Manager Lou Piniella said the hardest part of his job this year has been rotating his five outfielders. Nady replaced the hot-hitting Kosuke Fukudome in right because the Pirates threw left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm at the Cubs.

Rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin also needs playing time, but that means either Fukudome, center fielder Marlon Byrd or left fielder Alfonso Soriano sits.

"See if we can give Nady some at-bats and get him going with the bat," Piniella said.

The manager added that he works to inform players that they might be sitting the next day.

"I try," he said. "I try. It doesn't happen all the time because I'm busy with the media, and they might leave the clubhouse early. But we communicate fairly well. Sometimes, the timing isn't right."

Piniella also said he'll get players coming into his office to lobby for playing time or to stay in the lineup.

"I've had a few players come in, yeah," he said. "It's nice to visit. But they want to play. What can I say. You find that positive."

PIRATES 3, CUBS 2: Ryan Dempster gave up two homers, and that was enough to do in the Cubs. Andy LaRoche hit a solo shot in the first inning, and Ryan Church hit a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth that wiped out Chicago's 2-1 lead. Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto hit solo homers for the Cubs, but they left 12 runners on base.


--Aramis Ramirez was 0-for-4, and his average has sunk to .149. Ramirez bats either fourth or fifth, but Piniella said he may have to move Ramirez down and Soriano up from sixth to the heart of the order.

"He's the manager; you've got to ask that question to him," Ramirez said. "I just react. Wherever he wants me to hit, I hit. I can't control that. I don't care. Like I say, I'm going to try to do my best wherever I hit."

--Carlos Silva won't need an extra day of rest after all, and he will pitch Friday, on his regular turn, and not on Saturday as originally announced. Silva has been bothered by a strained right wrist, which he hurt swinging the bat two weeks ago.

--Soto reached the required number of plate appearances Tuesday and took the NL lead in on-base percentage at .488. Soto went 1-for-3 with his 20th walk of the season Tuesday.

"He's been very patient at home plate," Piniella said. "That pays dividends for you, not only with your on-base percentage, but it allows you to see a lot of pitches. The more pitches you see, especially early in the year, the better you're going to be."

--Soriano homered for the fourth consecutive game when he connected off Maholm leading off the fourth. That's one shy of the Cubs' record for homers in consecutive games (Hack Wilson, Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa).

"I wish that was every day," Soriano said. "I hope that continues, feeling good at home plate."

--Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying his career best, set in 2008. During the streak, Theriot has 11 multi-hit games. He singled in the second inning Tuesday and doubled in the sixth.

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