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Tuesday, June 15, 2010
NL showing well in interleague play

By Bruce Levine

Interleague play usually means domination by the American League. In 2010, it seems like it’s a departure from business as usual; after 88 interleague games the National League has the advantage having won 45.

The Cubs’ Marlon Byrd, who played three years for the Texas Rangers, has his own ideas about the difference between the leagues.

“I think the leagues are a little different,” Byrd said. “Time of game is definitely impacted; [it is] a little quicker here in the National League cause pitchers hit. With the DH in the American League, at-bats are going to last a little longer. Other than that, I don’t see a major difference. It’s the big leagues, National League teams have won the World Series and American [League] teams have won the World Series. Interleague play doesn’t really tell the whole story. So I’d say [the competition level] is about the same.”

Lou Piniella has coached in both leagues, and has some ideas about the differences between each.

“American League has probably a little more offense,” Piniella said. “The National League probably has [better] relief pitching -- especially in the middle. They score more runs in the American League than in the National League.”

As of June 22, the Cubs are 3-3 in interleague play. The White Sox are 4-2.

Notes

  • Left-handed reliever John Grabow returned to the team today after coming off the DL. Right-hander Mitch Atkins was sent to Triple-A Iowa. Grabow was on the DL with a left knee sprain.

  • Third baseman Aramis Ramirez hit in the cage with coach Rudy Jaramillo on Tuesday. He reported to Piniella that his left-thumb injury was improving, and he is able to handle the bat better at this point. Ramirez is eligible to come off the DL on June 23. Piniella said a brief rehab in the minor leagues would be a possibility for Ramirez -- though nothing is set at this point.

  • Kosuke Fukudome’s Japanese hitting coach is in town to work with the right-fielder. Piniella is not saying that Tyler Colvin has replaced Fukudome as the team’s right-fielder -- at least not at this point.

    “Right now we’re going to play Colvin a little bit and let Fukudome work with his hitting coach,” Piniella said.

  • Piniella had been on record as saying that catcher Koyie Hill was going to get most of the playing time. However, the manager said on Tuesday that Geovany Soto will play on Wednesday and Thursday. He will also play twice over the weekend against the Angels; the Cubs will see four left-handed pitchers in the next five games.