Stone's criticism of Piniella off base

Although Steve Stone is a good friend of mine and a terrific baseball mind, historically he is not correct about handling young players.

The White Sox television analyst criticized Cubs manager Lou Piniella for his playing time for rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin, saying on Comcast SportsNet that Piniella "doesn't have a great grasp on what to do with young players."

The Cubs' turnaround in June 2007 was predicated by Piniella removing veteran shortstop Cesar Izturis from the lineup and encouraging management to trade catcher Michael Barrett. At thre same time, Piniella implemented Ryan Theriot, basically a rookie, at shortstop and called up setup man Carlos Marmol from Triple-A Iowa. Those two moves were vital to their turnaround in catching the Milwaukee Brewers and winning the National League Central Division title.

He also committed to catcher Geovany Soto, and he went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year. To take it one step further, Piniella was manager when Alex Rodriguez broke in with the Seattle Mariners in 1994 and '95.

To say that Piniella doesn't handle young players is a vast overstatement.