Quade seeks one infielder, one outfielder
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2011 10:18PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MESA, Ariz. — For a team that finished in fifth place last season and didn’t make many additions during the offseason, the Cubs have precious few job openings in camp.
In fact, manager Mike Quade said he sees only two openings on the non-pitching side of the roster on a team that finished 10th in the National League in runs scored, 11th in the NL in getting on base and next-to-last in the majors in fielding last season.
With versatile infielders Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt each getting a piece of second base, right fielders Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin both projected to make the 25-man roster, Koyie Hill slotted in as the backup catcher and all the other starting jobs locked up, Quade said he’s looking for another infielder capable of playing short and a versatile fifth outfielder to fill out his 13-man position-player roster.
The top candidates for the infield job are prospect Darwin Barney and non-roster veteran Augie Ojeda. Non-roster veteran Reed Johnson is in the outfield battle with newly acquired Fernando Perez, the fastest player in camp.
‘‘Sometimes it works itself out,’’ Quade said. ‘‘Sometimes it doesn’t, and it becomes a brutally tough decision. A lot of the people involved in this, we need to see play.
‘‘I love the possibility of upsets and of guys coming to camp, like [then-prospect] Colvin did last year. You never close the door on anything. You have a core group you start with, and then you let people play and let them decide for you.’’
Perez, who scrapped switch-hitting last season to bat exclusively from the right side, is working from both sides of the plate again. Quade said he’s eager to see whether Perez can be effective enough to add the one-step advantage to his speed.
‘‘I’ll bounce that off [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo] on a regular basis and check on his left-handed progress and what we think about it,’’ Quade said.