MESA, Ariz. (AP) -For the last couple of months, Mark DeRosa has read extensively about the rumors and speculation on a trade that could change his role with the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs have been interested in Baltimore Orioles' second baseman Brian Roberts but have not been able to cut a deal that could transform DeRosa from a starter into a utility player.
``I'm not concerned about it. I'm prepared to come here and be the second baseman for the Cubs. But I prepared to do that last year and I found myself in right and at third and short, so it really doesn't matter,'' DeRosa said Monday, the day the full squad was to report for spring training.
DeRosa's versatility and a good bat are his biggest assets. He can play anywhere in the infield and did a respectable job last season in right field. He just wants to be in the lineup every day and second is his primary spot. Acquiring Roberts could make him a full-time backup.
``If (general manager) Jim (Hendry) feels that he makes us a better team, he's going to do it regardless of what my thought process is on it. It's not something I'm going to worry about or have worried about. If it happens, I'll worry about it then,'' DeRosa said.
``My problem is finding a spot for me to play. ... You know, whoever writes the checks kind of tells me what I'll do. I have no problem moving around.''
In his first season with the Cubs last year, DeRosa batted .293 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs and also hit .317 with runners in scoring position. He appeared in 93 games at second where he started 88 times; 37 games at third base; one at short; 22 games in right field; one in left field; and nine at first. He also batted in every spot in the batting order except leadoff.
DeRosa and shortstop Ryan Theriot got used to working together as a double play combination last season, and a breakup of sorts could occur if there is a trade.
``I've spoken with Mark on numerous occasions about it,'' Theriot said.
``It's right when we start to get real comfortable together, now all of a sudden we're (maybe) going to have another guy. Brian Roberts is a great player. Obviously, if we get him, everybody's going to be excited to have him in the lineup''
Manager Lou Piniella said last month at the team's winter convention he has no problems starting the season with DeRosa at second.
``I'm very happy with DeRosa. He really did a nice job last year,'' Piniella said.
Notes: The Cubs agreed to a minor league contract with utility infielder Alex Cintron. Cintron, who played the last two seasons with the White Sox, gives the Cubs a third shortstop if needed. Theriot is the starter and Ronny Cedeno the backup, but the Cubs also want to give Cedeno some time in center field where he played well in winter ball. Piniella said Monday that Cedeno is still primarily an infielder and if he makes the team it will be as an infielder. ... Crane Kenney, the Cubs' chairman and Tribune Co. executive overseeing the team, will address the players before the first full squad workout Tuesday. He's expected to update them on the status of the team's proposed sale and issues like naming rights for Wrigley Field. Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry will also speak to the team. Asked if he already knew what he would say to the team Tuesday, Piniella said no. ``Not yet. I haven't had a cocktail,'' he said to raucous laughter in the team's media room. ``I say that jokingly obviously,'' Piniella added. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez was scheduled to make it to Mesa on Monday night from the Dominican Republic and be ready for Tuesday's first workout.
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