MESA, Ariz. -- Going into spring training, there were 200 million reasons to suggest Tyler Colvin had no chance to make the Chicago Cubs' 25-man roster.
Even he knew what the presence of high-priced outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Marlon Byrd meant for his candidacy."The best thing [I could hope for] is that I would have a good spring," Colvin said. "And I would be in their mind for later on in the season."He's done far more than that. After homering, tripling and singling twice in Saturday's 2-2, 10-inning tie with a San Diego Padres split squad, Colvin was batting .475 -- and was foremost on his manager's mind."He's not looking for a roster spot; he's looking for somebody's position," Lou Piniella said. "Look, this kid's made a great impression. Obviously, he's earned the right to be here. It's been fun watching him play."Colvin, who drove in both Cubs runs Saturday, is among baseball's spring leaders in batting, hits, total bases, slugging percentage, runs and RBIs.Still, he's not convinced he's made the team. Even though Soriano and Fukudome are coming off bad seasons, they are being paid a ton of money. And the Cubs added Byrd to play center and Xavier Nady to rotate in as the fourth outfielder.Colvin, 24, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, gained 25 pounds of muscle during the offseason. He worked out for an hour after Saturday's four-hit game and was one of the last players to leave HoHoKam Park."I'm just trying to get ready for the season, have good at-bats and make it tough on them," he said.Actually, his amazing spring isn't make it tough for Piniella at all."If he's on our team, we've got to play him some," Piniella said. "He's making it very easy to do that."The fact that Nady is coming off Tommy John surgery and has yet to play outfield in a game -- he's scheduled to do so Sunday -- helps Piniella justify playing Colvin two or three times per week early in the season."He's saying to us: 'Hey, get my name in that lineup and I can get some things done,'" Piniella said.Colvin wasn't the only impressive youngster Saturday.Left-hander Clayton Richard appeared to have wrapped up the No. 4 spot in San Diego's rotation by allowing one run on four hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked three in his second consecutive strong outing after a rough start to the spring."I'm hitting the glove now and not worrying about much else, just being aggressive and confident," said Richard, who came to the Padres in the July 31 trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox. "Baseball's a simple game. We get in trouble when we complicate things."
One day after winning a spot in Chicago's rotation, Carlos Silva allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. ... The Padres were 4 for 4 in stolen bases and lead the majors with 46 steals. ... Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, roughed up and wild in his two previous outings, walked the first batter he faced in the ninth but ended the inning with two strikeouts. ... Cubs RHP Mike Parisi was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.