Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carlos Zambrano, Hitting .364, May Be Cubs DH

Cubs manager Lou Piniella -- confronted with the sudden loss of outfielder Rafael Soriano due to a fractured finger -- has told reporters he is giving serious consideration to using staff ace Carlos Zambrano as the everyday designated hitter in an upcoming series against the cross-town White Sox.

Zambrano is hitting .364 with a homer and .523 slugging percentage in 44 at-bats, and has received high praise for his all-around athletic ability and zeal at the plate and on the basepaths in addition to his outstanding pitching.

Outfielder Felix Pie -- recently beginning to swing the bat a little better after being demoted to Triple A Des Moines -- is also expected to be considered, though Pie might be more likely to come off the bench.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, meanwhile, issued a warning to Piniella that even though their two teams are in first place, neither the White Sox nor the Cubs had better not slack off if there is to be a serious chance the two will meet in the World Series.

Guillen told The Chicago Tribune that even though the White Sox have pulled away from the pack for now, the early season favorite Tigers "have a lot of talent. You can't take anything for granted. You have to continue to play."