GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Cubs Manager Mike Quade still won’t commit to an Opening Day lineup. However, against right-handed starters you can pencil in Kosuke Fukudome at leadoff, followed by Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Geovany Soto, Alfonso Soriano and whoever is starting at second base – Darwin Barney or Jeff Baker.
It appears Quade isn’t much clearer on who will be his leadoff man than he was at the beginning of spring training, however, Fukudome seems to be the logical choice.
“I don’t have a problem with him leading off,” Quade said. “I wouldn’t have a problem with Barney leading off and I wouldn’t have a problem with [Baker]. But to start the season, [Fukudome is] a possibility.”
Quade said he’ll work on his Opening Day lineup on Wednesday on his flight back to Chicago and post his starting nine at the team’s workout on Thursday.
“When I leave the ballpark after Thursday’s workout I want to be done with everything,” Quade said. That’s so Friday I can enjoy the day, I can pay attention to the things we have to do and get our work done. I’d like to have it done on Thursday before the workout.”
Running smart: Don’t expect the slow-footed Cubs to run into a bunch of outs or try to steal a lot of bases this season. Although Quade wants his team to be aggressive on the base paths, he’s realistic about the team’s base stealing ability and its lack of speed.
“We have a guy or two that are above-average runners,” Quade said. “So to project something [stolen bases] that we are not [good at] would do us more harm than good. We have to make sure that we don’t forget about being a threat and we should be, yeah. We just need to run with our heads. We are not an Anaheim-type club that can run, run, run, run until the umpires call time.”
Barney’s backflips: Barney was the hit of Sunday’s pregame activities, doing a couple of backflips ala Ozzie Smith. Quade was torn between telling Barney to stop before he gets hurt and encouraging a fun moment for the player and his teammates.
“I still haven’t seen it,” Quade said. “I loved watching Ozzie do it, but I’m probably just as happy not to see this other gentleman [do it].
“I guess it does point out what a wonderful athlete he is."