Thursday, April 20, 2006

Brandon Sing Only a Short-Term Answer for Cubs

Brandon Sing trying to field a grounder is a bit like a man trying to pick up a mouse, but there's no better place to hide Sing's glove than first base now that the position is open with Cubs starter Derrick Lee out perhaps for two months or more. Sing, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound Chicagoland native, may be asked to fill a roster spot. He would bring to the Cubs a good eye at the plate and a respectable power source. Other options might include playing Jerry Hairston full-time at second base and moving 2B Todd Walker to first base, or trading for someone known to be on the market, such as Pittsburgh's Craig Wilson. Sing, 25, was Florida State League MVP in '04, when he slugged 32 homers. At the AA level last year Sing hit .280 with 26 homers in just 411 AB. But with Sing's defensive play in question, plus his inexperienced bat, Sing can hardly be regarded as the ultimate stopgap. In 57 plate appearances, Sing is hitting only .200 with the Iowa Cubs this year, with one homer. Speculation is running rampant that the Cubs will deal for Wilson. Wilson had no place to play in Pittsburgh but has been pressed into action because of injury to Pirates first baseman Sean Casey. Wilson remains expendable in Pittsburgh because he is backed up in the minors by prospect Brad Eldred. Eldred, playing at nearby AAA Indianapolis, is something of a fan favorite. Another Cubs first base prospect, Brian Dopirak, hit .307 with 39 homers at single A Lansing last year, but has yet to be seriously tested at the AA level.