CHICAGO - Notebook takes a look at what Izturis trade means, prospect Jake Fox and more.
Lou Piniella wrote out his lineup card Thursday and had seldom-used Cesar Izturis starting at shortstop and batting eighth for the Cubs’ game against San Francisco at Wrigley Field.
General manager Jim Hendry had other plans for Izturis. The wheeling-and-dealing GM dealt Izturis to Pittsburgh for a player to be named later, likely a minor leaguer.
That opens the door for Ryan Theriot to take over the full-time job at shortstop, while versatile Mark DeRosa will serve as backup.
“The facts are in. The kid can play,” Hendry said of Theriot.
Izturis, 27, hit .246 with eight RBI and 15 runs in 65 games this season for the Cubs. He came to the North Siders on July 31, 2006, in the deal that sent Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs will pay close to two-thirds of Izturis’ remaining salary. Izturis was scheduled to make $4.15 million this year, and he had an option for 2008 with a $300,000 buyout.
“I’m going to miss this team. There are a lot of good people around here,” Izturis said. “People like Theriot and (second baseman Mike) Fontenot came up and did a great job. It’s a situation where I wasn’t playing and now I’m going to a place where I can play.”
Pirates skipper Jim Tracy managed Izturis in Los Angeles from 2002-05.
The Cubs called up catcher/outfielder Jake Fox from Double-A Tennessee to take Izturis’ roster spot.
Fox hit .284 with 18 homers and 60 RBI in 91 games this season. He was hitting .318 against left-handed pitching.
Fox, who will turn 25 today, was brash enough to go into Piniella’s office during spring training to request more playing time. The next day, Fox hit a double and home run.
“I can’t exactly remember what he said, but he wanted to play,” Piniella said of that March meeting. “What impressed me, though, is how he swung the bat. He backed up the conversation.”
Fox said he just wanted to play.
“There was a lot of criticism about my defense,” Fox said. “But he (Piniella) saw what I could do at the plate. That showed him more than me going to his office to talk to him. I needed to play and wanted to play and he put me in there, I showed him I could play.”
Fox pinch hit during the eighth inning of Thursday’s game and grounded into a double play.
Shortly after catcher Michael Barrett was traded to San Diego last month, a Cubs beat reporter speculated to WSCR-AM (670) that Barrett was the “mole” who leaked information about a Cubs’ players-only meeting to ESPN, saying that players were ripping Piniella during the meeting.
On Thursday morning, Barrett appeared on the Mike North show on WSCR and was asked point blank if he leaked the information. Barrett didn’t completely deny it.
“I don’t think so,” Barrett said. “I don’t know. If I snitched, what did I snitch about? If someone thought that ... I would hope they have the courage to come to me and say something to my face. Derrek Lee, who is the team leader, so to speak, defended me, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters. I care more about what my teammates think of me than anyone else ... so I don’t know where all this other stuff is coming from. I’m shocked by that.
“I know at the end of the day what Michael Barrett is all about. If things got misconstrued or there is bad information out there ... I can’t go to court and defend myself.”
Kerry Wood needed seven pitches to complete a 1-2-3 inning Thursday for Mesa in a Rookie League game. Wood, who is nursing right shoulder tendinitis, had a pitched clocked at 95 mph on the radar gun. He might throw again Saturday.
Piniella said pitcher Carlos Zambrano’s right hand is fine, one day after Zambrano barehanded a line drive hit by the Giants’ Dave Roberts. ... Pitcher Ted Lilly registered his first career stolen base during the fifth inning of Thursday’s game. ... The Giants-Cubs series drew 161,374 fans to Wrigley Field, a four-game series record at the Friendly Confines. The old mark was 159,461, set in 2004 vs. Cincinnati.
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