Lou Piniella, who left his job with the Chicago Cubs in the middle of last year's disappointing season, is confident the team can turn things around under new manager Mike Quade.
Piniella told Steve Cochran during his ESPN radio show on Friday that Quade's extensive minor league experience and his success as the interim manager at the end of last season prove he can handle the job.
"Mike's a good baseball man. He's been in baseball for a long, long time," Piniella said. "He got that opportunity when I left there and I tell you what, the club responded to him and they played exceedingly well. And I know it was a very tough decision for everybody in the organization choosing between Mike and other viable candidates, but you know, he deserved it.
"I hope that Mike does an outstanding job over there and that he's the manager for a long, long time."
Piniella said he spoke to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry during the hiring process, and Hendry agonized over the decision to hire Quade over Triple-A Iowa Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg and several outside candidates. Sandberg has since opted to leave the organization, taking a job managing the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.
"Jim makes those decision and that's what he gets paid to do. I know that he thought about this long and hard," Piniella said. "Ryno, give him his due, he started out in Peoria and worked his way through the system and finished up this last year in Iowa. Most people assumed that Ryno probably had a leg up on everybody else and it just didn't work out that way. I wish him well. He's a good baseball guy and hopefully he gets his opportunity to manage in the big leagues."
For his part, Piniella is content to have his managing days behind him. He left the Cubs midseason to care for his ailing mother, and he's not looking back.
"She's having her good days and her bad days," Piniella said of his mother's health. "Sometimes I'm heartened a bit and sometimes it's discouraging. She's going to be 91 years old now, here in December, so she's a scrappy old gal. I needed to come home, I did the right thing and she's appreciated the fact that I've been home."