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Piniella to consider options to help out Cubs' offense
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/24/2010 4:33 PM

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MESA, Ariz. - Cubs manager Lou Piniella expounded Wednesday on his suggestion the previous day that second baseman Mike Fontenot could see some time at shortstop this spring.

According to Piniella, it's all about finding some extra offense.

"Either you're going to want a little more defense, or you're going to want some offense," Piniella said. "If Fontenot can play some shortstop, we can look to carry a bat. If he can't, well then basically, we'll be able to carry one less bat on the bench."

In other words, the Cubs may be looking for a way to keep a player such as Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Bryan LaHair or Micah Hoffpauir. The odd-man out in that situation could be slick-fielding infielder Andres Blanco.

"We know that Blanco can do a nice job as a utility infielder and backup shortstop," Piniella said. "Depending on what we do in the outfield, and we're just supposing, if we carry a defensive center fielder to help (Marlon) Byrd out, a defensive infielder, (Koyie) Hill catching, now all of a sudden, you start getting a little thin offensively coming off the bench. If we can get a few of these other guys to be able to fill in for a day or two, we might be able to carry another bat.

"No determination has been made, but we've got to look at those things."

Also, it appears Piniella would have no problem going to phenom Starlin Castro if anything were to happen to shortstop Ryan Theriot.

"I mentioned that if Theriot were to get hurt, which we don't want, obviously, you just put the kid at shortstop at let him play," Piniella said of Castro. "That's in case of an injury to Theriot. We don't want to see that. We want Theriot to play.

"If the kid shows he can handle it and we had an injury at the position, why not? I want to see him in the spring. He played very well last summer, and he had a really good winter ball, and he's a good-looking young guy. If he's ready and somebody gets hurt, why not utilize hit talent? That's all I'm saying. He wouldn't be here as a backup at all."

Eating it up: Last week, Lou Piniella pointed out that pitcher Carlos Silva came to camp not in the best shape.

Wednesday, Piniella said Silva is making progress.

"He's working hard," Piniella said. "I'm going to tell you what. Silva is a hard worker, there's no question about it. He might be a hard eater. I'm only joking. But no, he comes out here and works hard, he really does. I'm very encouraged from what I see."

The Cubs obtained Silva from the Mariners in the Milton Bradley trade. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds.

Not high tech: Unlike White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, don't expect to see Lou Piniella on Twitter.

"What is Twitter?" Piniella asked and then was told. "Ozzie needs more space than that. No, no, no, no. First of all, I don't know how to Twitter. Second of all, I'm not going to learn how to Twitter. Look, I've heard of Facebook. Actually, it's on my phone. I see it every once in awhile.

"I'm really not a Facebook or Twitter guy. I'm a prime rib and baked potato guy. I hate to say that, but it's true. Maybe somebody should teach me."