A compelling aspect of Wednesday’s Cubs-Brewers game, apart from the fact that the Cubs actually won, was Lou Piniella’s decision to start Ryan Theriot at short.
As Lou explained:
"We need a lift. We need somebody who hopefully can get us going a little bit. I've been trying to figure out where to play him. He's been getting work at shortstop. We'll put him out there at shortstop and let him play."
Theriot, naturally, was elated to get the opportunity and said he wasn’t intimidated about moving over from second.
"The only [difference] is the throw. It takes a little getting used to. Two years ago, that's where I was every day. It's something I'm comfortable with and excited about."
In fact, during minor league stops at Daytona, Lansing and West Tenn, Theriot played a fair amount of shortstop, 189 games total, handling 777 chances successfully, but making 40 errors. That adds up to a woeful .951 fielding percentage.
For comparison’s sake, National League shortstops had a combined .972 fielding average last season and the Cubs haven’t had an everyday shortstop who fielded anywhere near .951 as far back as I had the energy to check. Could be because shortstops with .951 fielding percentages soon cease to be shortstops.
Theriot clearly gives the Cub offense a boost that Cesar Izturis and Ronny Cedeno are incapable of providing. But to justify his place in the lineup Theriot is going to have to dramatically improve his glovework. Or be one helluva hitter.