Wednesday, March 21, 2007

floyd benched

reports the trib:

"One thing, with Cliff, we want to make sure he's ready for the stretch run in August and September," manager Lou Piniella said before Tuesday's game at Hi Corbett Field.

"It gets awfully cold up north early in the season, and the worst thing we can do is get too comfortable and all of a sudden have a setback.

"We're going to take it easy. He's going to get some at-bats, no question, but at the same time, overusing him? Not only from my perspective, but from our team's medical perspective … they said to be very careful. We will be prudent."

General manager Jim Hendry said earlier this spring that Floyd was upset with him for holding him out until March 12, so it's possible Floyd won't be satisfied with a lesser role than he may have envisioned when he signed. Floyd did not make the trip to Tucson but is expected to play Wednesday against Texas at HoHoKam Park.

Piniella has dealt with similar situations in the past.

"I'll probably get a knock on my door," he said. "I understand the competitive nature of it. These kids all want to play and do well.

"But at the same time, you have to be realistic. He's coming off of a serious injury and we had to hold him back in spring training. What's the sense of wasting all that rehab period by going full bore with something that from a medical standpoint is not going to be good for him?"

if this is the case, dear reader, why doesn't floyd stay in extended spring with mark prior and kerry wood? if he can't go "full bore", why should he be made to limp along? would it not be more prudent still to place floyd on the disabled list and retain either (or both) buck coats or angel pagan? why would the cubs limit their options by carrying an injured player on their bench for the month of april?

this is most probably a decision being made to placate egos -- those of cliff floyd and jim hendry, it is suspected. floyd understands that he has been tagged as a perpetually injured player following a four-season stretch in new york in which he has failed to amass 400 ab three times, and it is a tag that isn't good for business. hendry, for his part, took a chance on floyd's recovery from achilles tendon surgery and has probably has enough by now of being made a fool of by mother nature and her proclivity to strike down his cubs against his apparent expectations.

the smart thing would be to place floyd on the 15-day disabled list and let him get to whatever point he will ultimately get to in his rehabilitation -- he's clearly not well now, as his utterly ghastly performance in the field this spring attests. indeed, floyd may never be able to run or field like he used to, and that's fine. but it serves no utilitarian purpose whatsoever to stick him on the bench for a few pinch-hit appearances when he could be in mesa getting well enough to actually contribute to the club.

the cubs made further roster cuts tuesday, sending geovany soto to iowa and ryan o'malley, jake fox, carmen pignatiello, casey mcgehee and micah hoffpauir to minor league camp. coats and pagan are both still in camp, which breaks after nine more cactus league exhibitions. this page for one hopes that one of them takes floyd's spot on opening day.

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