Sign of times: Early lineups from Quade
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com February 25, 2011 11:04PM
Updated: February 26, 2011 6:03PM
MESA, Ariz. — In the most conspicuous example yet of the regime change at Cubs camp, manager Mike Quade had his lineups for the first three exhibition games posted Friday — two days before the first one would even be played.
As one clubhouse wag said, ‘‘You’d be lucky with Lou to have a lineup three minutes ahead of time.’’
That was the most consistent complaint by players about Quade’s predecessor, Lou Piniella.
It might not seem like a big deal, especially in spring training. But during the regular season, it makes a difference, players say.
‘‘You hear so many coaches and players talk about how mental this game is, and to be able to give yourself that type of preparation to get ready for a game [is important],’’ said outfielder Reed Johnson, who will lead off and play center field Monday and bat seventh and play left Tuesday. ‘‘Especially for the guys that don’t play every day, it benefits those guys a lot.’’
How complete were the lineups? In parentheses next to the starters, Quade listed the first players off the bench at each position/lineup spot.
Fukudome leads off
Kosuke Fukudome will lead off in the opener Sunday, heading a lineup that could be identical — at least 2 through 7 — to the regular-season opener. Shortstop Starlin Castro, center fielder Marlon Byrd, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, first baseman Carlos Pena, left fielder Alfonso Soriano and catcher Geovany Soto will bat behind Fukudome. Blake DeWitt will bat eighth and play second.
‘‘I’ve said all along that Fuke seems to fit in the 1 spot if he’s in the lineup, and I like Cassie in the 2 spot,’’ Quade said.
Don’t expect any team captains under Quade. ‘‘I don’t do the captain thing,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m the captain. I know some great players that are not comfortable with that.’’
◆ Final word: When asked if he liked batting leadoff, Fukudome told a Japanese beat writer, ‘‘I don’t hate it.’’