Lou Piniella apologized this morning for “overreacting to Jason Marquis assertion that hed rather be traded than pitch out of the bullpen. Marquis said he doesnt regret what he said Saturday — “I dont think I said anything negative.
And ultimately nothing changed overnight about Marquis status or the likelihood hell be traded regardless by the end of camp if the Cubs can get a team to bite off at least most of what’s left of the $16.25 million hes owed on the final two years of his contract.
The two met this morning in Piniellas office, and both said things were smoothed over. But Marquis still considers himself a starter and wouldnt address the alternative.
“Im committed to the Chicago Cubs first and foremost, Marquis said this morning. “I want to pitch here and thats the reason I signed here. So Im going to gout there and try to get better day by day and work on the things I need to work on. And [if he doesnt win a rotation job] well cross that path when we get to it.
Marquis said Saturday he would rather “take my services elsewhere to start if the Cubs didnt want him as a starter this year.
“Look, I can understand why a player feels that way, Piniella said this morning. “The whole thing here basically is I wasnt expecting it. It sort of surprised me. But I should have handled it better, and I apologize.
That doesnt mean Marquis has been assured anything beyond a chance to win one of two rotation openings, with Jon Lieber, Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall also in the mix.
“Look, were going to continue to go with the way weve been doing it, Piniella said. “Everybodys going to get an opportunity here to start and well see what happens toward the end of spring training. Look, competition is a part of this thing. Weve got seven very capable people here to start. Is that my fault? No. Thats what we have, and Ive got to give everybody a chance.
Piniella said his angry response Saturday to Marquis comments — “if thats the case, he can go somewhere else and “you know, that galls me about Marquis were influenced by his mood after the team s poor play in a loss to the Angels.
“I overreacted to it, thats all there is to it, he said. “Im human, and when Im wrong I admit Im wrong. And I should have handled the situation differently. I recognized it after I said it, but what can you do. On the way home I said, `Well, I stuck my foot in my mouth. But I already had stuck it, so what do you do?
“And, again, were going to give him every opportunity to compete and win himself a job, because. .. Basically, I like Jason, I really do. It has nothing to do with [anything] personal or otherwise, but weve got to be fair, too, and weve got to let people compete and let the process take hold.