Pirates Notebook: Cubs' Lee praises Hill's work
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When Derrek Lee, the Chicago Cubs' All-Star first baseman, won the first of three Gold Gloves in 2003, he did as several others have: He credited infield instructor Perry Hill.
They were together with the World Series champion Florida Marlins at the time, and the experience resonated, judging by Lee's reaction when told that Hill might not return to the Pirates next season, even though the team carries a club option on his contract for 2010.
"Perry Hill's probably the best coach I've ever had," Lee said. "What he preaches defensively, what he brings as an infield coach, I'd say he's worth about 10 to 15 wins a year as a coach. That's saying a lot for a coach. ... We'll take him."
The Pirates would like to keep Hill, but he might not want to stay, in part, because of disappointment over the trades of three of his four infielders: Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche.
Catcher Ryan Doumit was scratched because of a stiff lower back, the second consecutive game he missed.
He will be examined again tomorrow in Houston, but the matter is not thought serious.
The Pirates had considered bringing up top outfield prospect Jose Tabata once finished at Class AAA Indianapolis, not to play but to get a feel for the major league environment. They instead are sending him to the Florida Instructional League, which will run Sept. 22-Oct. 13, before he begins play in the Arizona Fall League.
"Our focus is on continued maturity, his body, and continued development offensively," director of player development Kyle Stark said.
Notable among the 105 players participating are pitchers Tim Alderson, Danny Moskos and Bryan Morris; third baseman Jarek Cunningham after missing the season to knee surgery; and outfielders Starling Marte, Gorkys Hernandez and Robbie Grossman.
• Chicago's eight hits to open the game Tuesday marked the sixth such occasion in Major League Baseball history. The Cubs were the first, on April 21, 1973.
• Had Chicago manager Lou Piniella been aware his team could have set the record with nine, he might not have had pitcher Ryan Dempster put down a sacrifice bunt for the first out. "I just do as I'm told," Dempster said. "Would have been fun to try, though."
• The Cubs have won 26 of the past 32 meetings with the Pirates.
• Reliever Jeff Karstens made his first appearance since Aug. 17 and, though his stuff looked sharper than before his back injury, he was charged with two runs in as many innings.