Trimmer Piniella says Cubs should be better Print
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Friday, 18 January 2008 15:57
MLB Headline News

 CHICAGO (AP) -Lou Piniella lost a few pounds during the offseason, thanks to a stricter diet and three-times-a-week exercise sessions that included walking. It also gave him time to reflect on how his first season as manager of the Chicago Cubs ended.
``We were disappointed. We thought we would play better in the postseason than we did,'' Piniella said Friday at the team's winter convention.
The Cubs overcame a sluggish start a year ago to win the NL Central before being swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Three weeks away from spring training, Piniella is convinced the Cubs are a better team and that they need to show it from the outset.
They've added Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome to play right field and hope Alfonso Soriano is healthy after battling leg problems last season.
Chicago has given its rotation a new look by signing Jon Lieber and switching closer Ryan Dempster to a starter's role.
Piniella said Friday he'd also like to see Felix Pie earn the stay in center field after a year of shuttling between the majors and minors.
Interested in Kaz Matsui before he signed with Houston, the Cubs also reportedly talked with the Orioles about Brian Roberts. But Piniella said he's comfortable with the team he has now, including Mark DeRosa at second base.
``I don't expect us to do anything. I really don't,'' Piniella said. ``I think if anything, we'll dabble in the outfield a little bit and pick up depth there. I'm very happy with DeRosa at second base. He did a really nice job last year. ... One thing that will help us with our speed is getting Soriano nice and healthy so he can run.''
Capable of playing several positions, DeRosa hit .293 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs in 149 games last season. He's heard the rumors about Roberts, and he wants to be an everyday player.
``I'll let Lou worry about that if that happens. I'm just preparing like I'm going to be the second baseman,'' DeRosa said. ``I don't have control over what they do. I'll put the team first, show up in spring training ready to go and they know that.''
The Cubs will hit the 100th anniversary of their last World Series title this season and are sure to be reminded about it on a regular basis. Piniella said earlier this week he's ready to address that subject at the beginning of spring training.
``Don't put the load of 99 years of not winning on you. Worry about this year only. We got a good ballclub, don't put any pressure on yourself. Let this team stand on its own merit,'' he said. ``It's true, you can't redo the past, but we got a really good chance to go forward this year.''
 

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