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Given to Fly

April 24, 2007

Given to Fly: Cubs, Cards will turn it around

For the Cubs, there’s always next week.

The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals provided an exciting weekend of major league baseball, and the two struggling teams will conduct Act II next weekend at Busch Stadium.

Cardinal fans can thank the windy city — along with the Cubs’ poor bullpen — for helping the St. Louis offense break out of its recent struggles.

As for the Cubs’ struggles, manager Lou Piniella will get them worked out. He’s still getting a feel for this team. The skipper will need some more help from general manager Jim Hendry though.

What do the Cubs do with Felix Pie?

Piniella can’t feel comfortable with Jacque Jones in center and 34-year-old Cliff Floyd in right, although Matt Murton would definitely get his share of playing time in right.

Pie is clearly ready to play center field. It is worth him struggling through inconsistency at the plate to have him in center helping out the pitching staff.

“We hit the ball hard,” Albert Pujols said after the Cubs’ 6-0 win Saturday. “We just didn’t find some holes. Their center fielder made a couple of good plays. If those balls that were hit today in the gap would have dropped, I think it would have changed the score around. But that’s part of the game. That’s all you can do is have good at-bats, and hopefully you get good results. That didn’t happen.”

Just bat him near the bottom of the order. It’s not like Jones is an offensive juggernaut. It’s too early, but Jones is the first trade that Hendry needs to find a way to make — and get bullpen help in return.

Jones is the odd man out in that outfield. Murton is not an option to trade. He’ll be a career .300 hitter before it’s all said and done. Floyd could be a solid bench guy and his value in a trade isn’t much anyway after a .244, 11-home run season with New York last year.

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