Finally: Colvin to Get More Playing Time

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella has done some lineup tweaking to get rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin additional playing time.

Colvin was the Cubs' best hitter in spring training, and when the club broke camp, Piniella said he wanted to "rotate" him into the lineup 2-3 times a week. That hadn't happened through the first two months, but Piniella said that's changing.

"We can move him all over," Piniella said. "We're going to keep his name in the lineup more than we have."

Piniella added that the move means nothing for right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, who sat Saturday in place of Colvin, who hit a double and a homer off of Houston's Roy Oswalt in that game.

Instead, Piniella said Colvin would get time at all three outfield spots, as center fielder Marlon Byrd and left fielder Alfonso Soriano get days off from time to time. It was Soriano who sat for Colvin Sunday.

Colvin is the Cubs' fastest outfielder and their best defender. He is adept at all three spots, making a rotation workable.


--Koyie Hill started behind the plate Sunday for the second straight game, replacing Geovany Soto. Piniella said that with the Cubs having trouble offensively, they need the best defense on the field, especially with stopping the other team's running game. The Cubs feel Hill gives them that ability more so than does Soto. Hill also extended his hitting streak to six games with an RBI double. He's 7-for-21 in the streak.

--Carlos Silva will start Monday's makeup game at Pittsburgh. Silva has not pitched since May 29, when he struck out a career-high 11 in running his record to 7-0. Silva is a sinkerball pitcher, but Piniella said he isn't worried about Silva being "too strong" against the Pirates, primarily because of his good command of the strike zone.

--John Grabow will begin a minor league rehab stint this week, getting 3-4 appearances at Class AAA Iowa, according to Piniella. Grabow went on the DL on May 31 with a left-knee sprain and has struggled much of this season. "He needs to get himself straightened out so he can help us," Piniella said.

--Andrew Cashner worked 1 2/3 perfect innings relieving Randy Wells in the sixth inning Sunday. Piniella said he's now ready to move Cashner to the eighth inning. Cashner's fastball topped out at 98 mph, according to the scoreboard.

"Yeah, we're going to put him in that role in the back end," Piniella said. "It looks like he's comfortable out there. He's throwing the ball good."

--Byrd is one of the few Cubs hitting with consistency. He put up his team-leading 22nd multi-hit game by going 2-for-4. He's 7-for-16 on the road trip.

--Wells has a four-game losing streak after taking the loss in the Cubs' 6-3 defeat to the Astros Sunday. Wells, who allowed three runs in the first inning and three more in the sixth, has not won since April 30. He has had three rough first innings this year -- giving up five runs on May 6 at Pittsburgh, five runs against the Cardinals on May 28 and the three against the Astros Sunday.

"There are some things I could have done different, but at the same time, I'm not walking guys," he said. "I'm not beating myself."

INSIDE THE NUMB3RS: 11. The Cubs entered the week having lost 11 games when they've allowed three of fewer runs. They had won nine of those games, and a struggling offense has wasted good starting pitching.

HE SAID IT: "With Theriot, he got a walk on Kentucky Derby day, and today's the Belmont." -- Piniella on June 5, speaking of the second baseman having gone from May 1 to June 5 between walks.

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