Monday, August 1, 2011
Lee greets ex-mates with two homers
By Bruce Levine
Derrek Lee hit two home runs against his former Cubs teammates in his Pirates debut on Monday.
PITTSBURGH -- The trading deadline can be a tough time for a veteran player like Derrek Lee when you are playing without a no-trade clause. The former Cubs first baseman found himself with his fourth team in less than a year on Monday after being traded from the Orioles to the Pirates on Sunday.
Lee was traded by the Cubs to Atlanta on Aug. 11 and then after the season signed with the Orioles as a free agent.
"Four teams in a year, my head's spinning I think. I have to see what [uniform] I'm wearing. It's been crazy. But I knew when I signed a one-year deal this year I could be moved so it wasn't totally unexpected."
Lee made an immediate impact with the Pirates on Monday, hitting two home runs, driving in all three runs in a 5-3 loss to the Cubs. Lee got the Pirates on the board in the fourth inning when he hit a Carlos Zambrano pitch 400 feet to tie the game 1-1.
"D-Lee is still a good hitter," Zambrano said. "I made a mistake. It was not a good pitch selection. [Catcher Geovany Soto] called a fastball away. I shook him off and I threw a slider."
Lee cut into a 4-1 Cubs lead in the eighth inning when he hit a two-run home run off Kerry Wood to bring the Pirates within 4-3.
"I was three pitches into it and I gave up two runs," Wood said. "I missed my spot. It was right down the middle, and he gets it."
Lee, 36, spent 6 1/2 years with the Cubs after being traded there by the Marlins for Hee Seop Choi in 2003. Last year at this time Lee turned down trades to the Nationals and Angels before accepting a trade to the Braves.
Like many former Cubs, Lee keeps an eye on hois former teammates.
"I have a lot of great friends over there. It's hard to see them struggle. I thought they would have a good year this year because of their rotation but baseball is a crazy game. They had some tough injuries right out of the gate. Two injuries to their rotation, that's hard to overcome. You hate to see them struggle like that. Hopefully they can finish strong like they did last year."