McKeon: no move of Cabrera for Lowell

Marlins say Game 2 switch unlikely to be repeated

NLCS notebook

October 10, 2003|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

MIAMI - Marlins slugger Mike Lowell has looked surprisingly comfortable at the plate in a handful of postseason at-bats, but manager Jack McKeon still says he will not displace rookie third baseman Miguel Cabrera or move him to shortstop to push Lowell back into the everyday lineup.

McKeon rebuffed questions about Lowell's status after he moved Cabrera from third to short to make room in the lineup in Game 2.

"You want to make a mountain out of a molehill," McKeon said. "I wanted to get Mike a couple of at-bats. Since he [Cabrera] was a shortstop before, we just wanted to put him back out there."

That may be true, but it would not surprise anyone if Lowell takes on a bigger role in the series, especially if the Marlins struggle offensively against Kerry Wood tonight and fall behind in the series.

McKeon did say he wanted to give Cabrera some time at shortstop just in case he needed some in-game flexibility, but repeated yesterday that he does not intend to move him there to open third base for Lowell.

"No, you won't see much of Cabrera at shortstop," McKeon said. "That was just a case of giving Mike a few at-bats. Cabrera had played short previously and you're down nine or 10 runs and defense is not that important. We needed offense."

Wood on Baker

Cubs manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Larry Rothschild got second-guessed after Game 2 for allowing Mark Prior to pitch into the eighth inning in a blowout game, but Game 3 starter Wood said yesterday that it was the right thing to do.

"I think they've done a great job," Wood said. "Dusty gets a lot of stuff for letting us pitchers go, but we love that about Dusty. We like the fact that he shows trust in us to go out and throw our game.

"And I feel I should be able to go out and throw between 120, 125 or 130 pitches. I don't want to go 130 every start, but a couple times isn't going to hurt."

Prior threw 116 pitches and didn't look nearly as overpowering as he had in his previous start, leaving room to wonder if he was showing some signs of fatigue toward the end of his first full major league season.

Baker said after the game that he had set 115 pitches as the target for Prior and wasn't willing to pull him earlier because he didn't want to give Marlins any chance to rally from the huge deficit in the late innings.

No change vs. Sosa

McKeon said yesterday that the Marlins would not significantly alter their approach to Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, who hit two long home runs in the first two games of the NLCS.

"We're just making bad pitches to him," McKeon said. "What has he got? The biggest hits he's got is two home runs. The rest of the time we've been able to get him out most of the time.

"But the guys' had bad location, and that's going to happen whether you've got Sosa or [Alex] Gonzalez or [Moises] Alou up there. If you make bad pitches to them, they're going to hit them."

Penny in Game 6?

Though Brad Penny has struggled in two postseason starts, McKeon apparently will bring him back in Game 6.

"I don't think because the guy had a bad game you cross him off the board," McKeon said. "When you look at the 14 wins he put up during the regular season, that's got to count for something."

LCS pitching line

Today Starter Time/Line W-L ERA

NL: Chicago Wood (R) -155 16-11 3.10

at Florida Redman (L) 8:18 14-9 3.57

Note: Statistics include postseason

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