Daily Herald
Leadoff issue settled, according to Piniella
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 6/15/2008 12:21 AM

TORONTO -- First the disclaimer: Cubs manager Lou Piniella has been known to change his mind after making similar pronouncements.

Piniella's latest came Saturday, when he said Reed Johnson would likely get the bulk of the at-bats in the leadoff spot.

With left fielder Alfonso Soriano on the disabled list with a broken left hand, Piniella has gone with Eric Patterson, Ryan Theriot and Johnson as his No. 1 hitter in the three games since.

On Saturday, Piniella hit a bingo with Johnson hitting a 3-run homer in the second inning.

"It had to feel good for him, obviously," Piniella said after Saturday's 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays. "It felt good to me. Yeah, with Reed, what we need to do is just make sure he's a little rested, but I would think you'll see him in there more often than not.

"I would think Johnson would be our leadoff hitter when he's in there, and then we can work our lineup from there."

Which is all fine with Johnson.

"I think that he knows and I know that I'm comfortable in that spot, in the leadoff role," he said. "I've hit there from high school all the way up to the big leagues. It's a tough spot to hit in the lineup. A lot of guys don't know how to approach it. They don't know when to be aggressive or when to be patient.

"When you've been in that spot your whole career -- like me or like Soriano -- you know the spots that you pick. I think it's going to be a good thing for us."

Strange scoring: The Cubs had all kinds of problem with what they perceived to be "homer" official scoring Saturday by Doug Hobbs.

In the top of the second, the Cubs had runners on first and third with two outs. Ronny Cedeno hit a ball that shortstop David Eckstein had to lunge for and knock down. The scorer originally called it an RBI hit.

But a little bit after Reed Johnson hit his 3-run homer, Hobbs changed it to an error, making all 4 runs that inning unearned, thus helping Jays starting pitcher Roy Halladay.

"The ball on Cedeno, I know that scorekeeper is try to be a little influential on their own players, but that's a base hit," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "The guy (Eckstein) is fully extended. I thought the shortstop made a nice play just getting to it."

In the bottom of the inning, Rod Barajas hit a high fly to deep center. Jim Edmonds circled under it, but had the ball go off his glove. It's a play Edmonds normally makes. Hobbs called it a double at first, but after the Cubs questioned it, he changed it to an error.

This and that: Over his last 3 starts, all Cubs victories, pitcher Jason Marquis has a 1.96 ERA, giving up 4 earned runs over 18½ innings … Aramis Ramirez extended his hitting streak to six games (8-for-23) … Reliever Carlos Marmol has struck out 62 in 42 innings.