Quade rules out platoon at first base
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 26, 2011 10:26PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Cubs manager Mike Quade has had Jeff Baker start at first base all three times the Cubs have faced a left-handed starter the last two weeks, but he hasn’t resorted to a platoon for struggling first baseman Carlos Pena.
‘‘It can’t be a platoon system for me because I still would like the left-handed power in the middle of that lineup that I know Carlos has,’’ Quade said. ‘‘And I’m not willing to bail on that two weeks, three weeks into the season in April in Chicago. Hopefully, that’s a conversation for never.’’
Pena, signed to that one-year, $10 million ‘‘pillow contract’’ in December, jammed his right thumb a week into the season and hasn’t come close to getting on a roll since. He’s only 2-for-21 during the homestand with one RBI since April 5, the day he injured the thumb.
Meanwhile, Baker has been one of the Cubs’ best hitters in limited playing time this month, taking a .400 average into Tuesday’s game, then driving home a run with a two-out single in his first at-bat.
‘‘The biggest decision I have right now is to find ways to keep Baker involved on a regular basis, whether it’s at second, the outfield, first or [third]. His versatility makes a huge difference, and he’s swinging the bat so well.’’
Injured starters Andrew Cashner (shoulder) and Randy Wells (forearm) threw without incident before Tuesday’s game, just ahead of today’s scheduled progress exams by the team doctor.
Both are only a few days into rehab throwing programs and still weeks away from possible returns to the rotation, with Wells still expected to return ahead of Cashner — possibly around mid-May.
Quade admitted Monday’s sloppy loss angered him as much as any in his 59 games as Cubs manager.
‘‘But it’s like being a closer,’’ Quade said. ‘‘You’d better have a short memory. It’s just one game. You try to learn. But it hurts. It hurts after the game.’’
† Alfonso Soriano is scheduled to get today off, with Tyler Colvin taking over in left.