Mike Quade prepared for hot seat

WASHINGTON -- Mike Quade has 37 games to make an impression as the interim manager of the Chicago Cubs, and he knows the spotlight will be on him.

"It's absolutely an audition," Quade said before Monday's game against the Washington Nationals, the first for the Cubs since the abrupt retirement of Lou Piniella on Sunday. "I have to do it my way, and whatever happens, happens."

Quade got off to a good start. The Cubs beat the Nationals 9-1, and Quade was given two game balls as a souvenir.

"I just want to go to sleep now, but those guys made it easy for me," he said. "It was a stress-free night and fun to watch."

Quade, who had been the team's third base coach, understands that leading the Cubs will be a challenge unlike any other. It's helped that most of the attention has been on Piniella's departure -- not Quade's promotion.

"All the craziness around me made it easier, because you have stuff to do," Quade said. "I've been here for four or five hours preparing for something I hope, in a few days, will become routine for me."

Quade held a meeting with the players before the game and told them he wanted to see consistent effort and intelligent play.

"You guys know who I am, but my voice is going to be a little louder," Quade said. "I would prefer not to have a mystery, and to let them know what differences they're going to see."

Quade takes over a Chicago team that was 23 games under .500 entering Monday's game and has a roster of underperforming players despite a healthy payroll and playoff aspirations.

"The game doesn't stop," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "Lou left his mark, so he'll always be remembered. Now we have to play hard for Quade and do this organization proud."

Being a fixture on Piniella's staff since 2007 and the manager of the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate for the four previous seasons gives Quade an inside track with the Cubs' young players as they begin to remake their roster.

"We're comfortable with him," outfielder Tyler Colvin said. "A lot of us young guys have dealt with him in the past in the minors, so we're just going to keep going along and playing the game like we should."

There remains rampant speculation that the Cubs will look to current Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg to take over the job, while others were surprised that current bench coach Alan Trammell was passed over in favor of Quade.

"I'm fine," Trammell said. "It's not even an issue. I'm pulling for him."

Quade understands the unique situation in which he's been placed, but plans to make the best of his appointment as the Cubs' 51st manager in team history.

"It's a special thing to me," Quade said. "It's something that you always hoped you'd get an opportunity to do."

With Quade talking over the top spot, former Cubs outfielder Bob Dernier was promoted to first base coach, while Ivan DeJesus will move from first base coach to third base coach.

Dernier worked for three-plus seasons as Chicago's minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator and has worked with the Cubs' minor leaguers during spring training since 2004.