Fontenot first choice for second so far
If season started today, Piniella says infielder would start
MESA, Ariz. -- If the Cubs started the regular season on Saturday, Mike Fontenot would be the Opening Day second baseman.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Fontenot has done everything to win the job over Aaron Miles.
"He's played really well this spring," Piniella said of Fontenot, who was batting .371 in 11 games with two homers and eight RBIs.
Piniella projected that Fontenot and Miles would get 350-400 at-bats each, with Ryan Theriot totaling about 500. Last year, in his first full season with the big league team, Fontenot had 243 at-bats in a backup role. Can he hold up for a full-time job?
"We'll find out," Piniella said. "We need to look at his number of at-bats. It's my job to look at it."
Miles will be the primary backup to Theriot, whom Piniella wants to give more time off this season. Theriot batted .307, getting 580 at-bats last season. His average has dropped off in the final month of play, so the Cubs hope that more days off during the year will keep him fresh.
"We'll try to space his at-bats as much as possible," Piniella said of Theriot.
When Fontenot starts, he'll likely bat sixth. That way, the Cubs will have Kosuke Fukudome hitting second, switch-hitter Milton Bradley fourth, and a good mix of left-right in the lineup.
"If we have to make adjustments, we will," Piniella said.
Fontenot has been one of the most productive hitters in camp, and the 5-foot-8 infielder has shown plenty of pop. Last year, he hit nine home runs in 119 games, which included 49 starts at second.
"For a little guy, he drives that ball well," Piniella said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.