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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Cubs start spring play with hit parade

By Bruce Levine

If the first game of the Cactus League season is any indication of how the Chicago Cubs will play in 2010, manager Lou Piniella will take it.
Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd went 2-for-2 with a home run in his spring training debut with the Cubs.

“I thought Wells threw the ball well,” Piniella said, referring to starter Randy Wells, who threw two innings of shutout baseball. “[Sean] Marshall was sharp, too.”

Offensively, the Cubs did little wrong on Thursday, hammering out 16 hits, including five home runs in their 9-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Park.

“The hitting! We hit the ball with some power,” Piniella said. “And we hit the ball behind runners. We were aggressive on the bases. We stressed that we want these kids to be more aggressive.”

Center fielder Marlon Byrd ’s debut with the Cubs was a complete success. The former Texas Ranger not only went 2-for-2 at the plate with a home run, but the crafty veteran also picked up on Randy Wells' tipping his changeup from his spot in center field.

“You don’t want to give the hitters an edge,” Byrd said. “You want to make sure you’re in the right spot in the outfield to help keep their pitch count down and catch everything you can. If I see anything with the pitchers, I’m going to talk to them.”

Wells was thankful that Byrd gave him some advice.

“I was working on my changeup and Marlon came up to me and said from center field he could tell I was trying to throw a changeup,” Wells said. “So in the second inning, I tried to fix that.”