DeRosa cleared to start Game 1
Strained left calf passes tests; Fukudome penciled in right
CHICAGO -- Mark DeRosa's left leg passed all the tests and he started at second base Wednesday for the Cubs in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
"I feel good, the training staff worked me out hard and I'm excited about today," DeRosa said.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella chose to go with defense in his Game 1 lineup against the Los Angeles Dodgers, starting Kosuke Fukudome in right field. DeRosa was an option but the Cubs don't want to overtax his left calf, which he strained last Wednesday.
"I think I could play anywhere," DeRosa said. "I worked out hard at both positions. It's totally Lou's decision as to where he puts me."
If everything goes well Wednesday, Piniella said he'd like to stick with the same lineup through the entire series.
"Fukudome is very capable of having a nice postseason," Piniella said. "Let's see. With the wind blowing and everything else, we went with good defense in the outfield."
Fukudome scuffled in the last month, batting .178 in September, but having him in the No. 2 spot may be a plus, because he's able to bunt and do the little things which could come into play because of the conditions at Wrigley Field.
"I can see us staying this way," Piniella said of his lineup. "We also have to look to see how DeRosa's leg holds up, too. I think he'll be fine, but until you really press it in a game, you're not 100 hundred percent sure."
Defense also was a factor in the final roster decisions and picking Felix Pie over Micah Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir, Koyie Hill, Michael Wuertz and Kevin Hart all went to Mesa, Ariz., to continue to work out in case they are needed for the next round.
"We talked about it long and hard," Piniella said. "It came down to the versatility of Pie. I wasn't going to use Hoffpauir in the postseason in the outfield. I have Derrek Lee at first. We decided to go for the versatility, the defense, the speed, and since he's come back, Pie has swung the bat better. Those were the determining factors."
Pie could see action as a late-inning replacement. The wind will create problems for the outfielders. It was blowing in from the north-northwest at 6 mph. Check the flags on the scoreboard. The players do.
"The wind's been blowing in here however many games, 30, 40 games," Chicago outfielder Reed Johnson said. "I think it's not going to change how we play. The ball's still carrying pretty good to left field, too. The wind is not really knocking it down as much as the flag is really playing today. I think, hopefully, you'll see some offense out of us."
DeRosa said it didn't matter as far as his approach goes against Dodgers starter Derrek Lowe.
"[Lowe] keeps the ball about a foot off the ground with sinkers and sliders," DeRosa said. "He's been through this before, he doesn't trick anybody with what he's trying to accomplish and he's one of the hottest pitchers down the stretch."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.