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Pie should get chance to start three straight games
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Felix Pie will start all three games of the Cincinnati series against three right-handed starting pitchers. Pie went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts Tuesday night.


Ed Lee | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/16/2008 12:04 AM

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Felix Pie was back in center field Tuesday night, starting for the first time since April 10.

With the Reds starting three right-handers this series, the left-handed-hitting Pie may get a shot at starting at least three games in a row, if Cubs manager Lou Piniella doesn't change his mind.

"We're going to let him start here," Piniella said. "I told Felix we're going to play him when we have right-hand pitching out there, and the Reds are pitching three right-handers, so you're going to see Felix out there in center field.

"I hope he swings the bat. I'd like to see Felix swing the bat because he can help us defensively and with his speed. And he's got some energy, which I really like."

If Pie does start hitting, Piniella said he'd like to move Pie up to second from eighth in the order and move shortstop Ryan Theriot down to eighth.

Piniella's plan has the backing of the organization. General manager Jim Hendry does not seem inclined to make a change with Pie, such as sending him to Class AAA Iowa, at this time.

"Let it play," Hendry said of the situation.

Rotation roulette: Lefty Rich Hill got a "throw day" Monday, according to Lou Piniella, and Hill will start Friday's series opener against the Pirates. Originally, Piniella had indicated Hill would pitch Saturday, with righty Jason Marquis going Friday.

Now, the Cubs will go with Hill, Marquis and Ryan Dempster against Pittsburgh.

Lilly update: Lefty Ted Lilly said he's not falling back on a lack of "arm strength" as a cause for his poor start. Lilly has failed to go at least 5 innings in any of his 3 starts and has a 9.95 ERA.

"I don't think I can use that as an excuse for not performing," Lilly said. "I don't have any excuses. I definitely expect my velocity to get better than it is right now. I definitely understand that there's a lot of different ways to win games at this level. There's a lot of guys throughout this league who are winning games without velocity."