Cubs' vets face same frustrations

August, 12, 2010
8/12/10
8:21
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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With 12 rookies on the roster, the faces may change from day to day, but the end result doesn’t.

The Cubs continued their rush toward another 90-plus loss season, as the veterans who are left on the roster fight the good fight while watching their minor league teammates learn how to play at the big league level.

“It’s about making adjustments,” Marlon Byrd said following the Cubs’ 29th one-run loss of the year on Thursday. “When they come in looking at the film, they have to figure out what they’re looking at and fix it the next time out. If [they keep seeing the same things over and over again] it means you’re not learning. The learning curve up here is tough. At the same time, people expect you to come up [to the big leagues] and produce. If not, you go back down to Triple-A.”

Byrd’s frustration is a common one for the veterans who thought they’d be in a penant race with seven weeks left in the season.

“It’s not tough. It’s not fun. You get sick and tired of losing,” Byrd said. “Regardless of one-run games or 10-run games, it just gets old.”

Interim manager Alan Trammell will gladly return the team to manager Lou Piniella on Friday in St. Louis. Trammell certainly hasn’t enjoyed his pinch-hitting role for Piniella. His record during his two brief managing roles while Piniella tended to family business is now 1-6.

“Everybody knows that this time of the year, good teams execute better,” Trammell said after the Cubs 8-7 loss Thursday. “I’ve talked to the guys a lot about it. We’ve done a lot of things not as well as we would like to. But [better execution] would be at the top of the list as far as giving teams opportunities. You just can’t do that at any level. Let alone the big league level.”

Notes

  • Shortstop Starlin Castro had multiple hits in each game of the four-game set with the Giants. His four hits on Thursday tied his career high, which he previously set on Aug. 4.

  • Derrek Lee returned to the team from Sacramento, Calif., after visiting with his seriously ill grandfather. He’s able to come off the bereavement list Friday. With Lee rejoining the team, first baseman Michah Hoffpaur will be returning to Triple-A Iowa.

  • Besides Piniella rejoining the team, general manager Jim Hendry will also be on the St. Louis trip.

  • Bruce Levine | email

    Chicago baseball beat reporter
    Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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    TEAM LEADERS

    WINS LEADER
    Jake Arrieta
    WINS ERA SO IP
    10 2.53 167 156
    OTHER LEADERS
    BAS. Castro .292
    HRA. Rizzo 32
    RBIA. Rizzo 78
    RA. Rizzo 89
    OPSA. Rizzo .913
    ERAT. Wood 5.03
    SOJ. Arrieta 167