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Colvin's 1B debut likely will come vs. Nationals
By Jerry Fitzpatrick | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/20/2010 6:45 PM

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Look for Tyler Colvin to make his first professional start at first base early next week when the Cubs play a three-game series in Washington.

Colvin, a corner outfielder, has been working at first base since Derrek Lee was traded to Atlanta. He hasn't played the position on a regular basis since his sophomore year at Clemson.

"It's going to be a few days," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Colvin's timetable. "He's comfortable over there. When we do this we're going to do it on the road. We're not going to do it at home.

"He's got good hands. It's a question of game speed. But he's done it before. It'll give us a chance to park him over there from time to time and let him play. We'll go from there."

The Cubs hit the road Monday when they travel to Washington, and Piniella said to expect Colvin to make his debut in that series.

Derrek Lee, who has won three gold gloves, including two with the Cubs in 2005 and 2007, was asked if Colvin has the ability to excel as a first baseman.

"I'm sure he could," said Lee, now with the Braves. "If he takes the time and puts in the effort, I'm sure he'll figure it out over there."

Friendly rivalry: Ryan Dempster and Derrek Lee have been good friends since they met as Florida Marlins in 1998. Dempster got the best of Friday's head-to-head matchup by retiring Lee three times, including a strikeout.

Dempster stepped behind the mound when Lee made his first plate appearance, allowing the 39,345 fans in attendance to give his friend and former teammate a standing ovation.

"I was happy to hear the crowd clap for him the way they did and give him the ovation that he deserved," Dempster said. "It was weird facing him. To go out and compete against him was a lot of fun."

Not going out on top: Cubs manager Lou Piniella was asked if it is disappointing to him personally to end his career managing a noncompetitive team, a club 201/2 games out of first place with a record of 50-73 after Friday's fifth straight loss.

"What are you going to do? You take the good with the bad," Piniella said. "Look, this hasn't been easy for me, but it hasn't been easy for anybody. And this isn't about me. This is about this organization. I don't feel bad for me, I feel bad for our organization. I've been at it a long time. I've had some success and I've had some failure. I have to live with the consequences either way."

In 22 previous seasons as manager of the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs, Piniella's teams finished below .500 only six times, including all three seasons in Tampa.