Daily Herald
Cubs could take gamble on Edmonds
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/13/2008 12:18 AM

Don't be surprised if former Cardinal Jim Edmonds makes at least a temporary landing in Chicago -- or Iowa.

The Cubs are having serious internal discussions on whether to sign center fielder Jim Edmonds, cut loose by the San Diego Padres.

General manager Jim Hendry could not comment Monday on Edmonds, who must first clear waivers, much as Reed Johnson had to during spring training before the Cubs signed him after Toronto let him go.

Some quarters in the Cubs' front office are taking a "why not?" approach to taking a flyer on Edmonds, all the while wanting to know about his health, whether he can still play and how good a fit he will be in the clubhouse.

Edmonds did not hit in the early season, batting .178 with 1 homer, 6 RBI and an on-base percentage of .265. Padres observers also say Edmonds looks like he has lost much in the field, too.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old Edmonds has been known as a difficult person in the clubhouse, but some in the Cubs' front office say he'd be fine on a winning team with a strong clubhouse, such as the one the Cubs have.

Right now the right-handed hitting Reed Johnson gets most of the playing time in center, with Felix Pie seeing limited action. The left-handed hitting Pie entered Monday batting .222 with 1 homer, 7 RBI and an OBP of .286.

The Cubs may sign Edmonds to a minor-league deal at first and give him a look-see at Class AAA Iowa. If they like what they see, they could flip-flop Edmonds and Pie and let Pie work on his hitting in the minor leagues.

For his career, Edmonds is a .286 hitter with a .377 OBP. He also may want to come back to the NL Central and help beat the Cardinals.

Reports say the Padres are on the hook for $4.7 million of what's left of Edmonds' $8 million salary, with the Cardinals kicking in $2 million.

Now it can be told: Closer Kerry Wood admitted that the "backup slider" he threw last week to strike out Cincinnati's Edwin Encarnacion isn't really a planned pitch. It was more like a mistake.

"It's hard enough to throw when you're trying to do it," Wood said, laughing. "It was a messed-up slider."

Whatever, the pitch worked devilishly, breaking in to the right-handed hitting Encarnacion.

Rotation roulette: Manager Lou Piniella said the only thing certain about the Cubs' pitching rotation this week is that Jason Marquis will start tonight against the Padres.

However, Piniella did indicate that lefty Ted Lilly would start Wednesday and that Ryan Dempster would go Thursday.

Jon Lieber, who started and lasted 2 innings last week at Cincinnati, is back in the bullpen, largely because Sean Gallagher got an emergency start Sunday. It's possible Gallagher could start Friday against Pittsburgh.