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updated: 7/31/2011 10:58 PM

Cubs' Pena looking for better 'chemistry'

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  • The Cubs' Starlin Castro connects for a double in the sixth inning Sunday night at St. Louis.

    The Cubs' Starlin Castro connects for a double in the sixth inning Sunday night at St. Louis.
    Associated Press


ST. LOUIS -- Nobody's kidding anybody about how bad a season this has been for the Cubs.

Carlos Pena was asked Sunday what needed to change. His answer was somewhat surprising.

"Obviously, there are some things that need to change here," Pena said. "However, there a lot of intangibles. I'm talking more about our culture, our way of being, our way of thinking, our energy."

When asked whether "intangibles" meant something like a killer instinct, he said it was something else.

"Chemistry," he said. "'Chemistry' is, I think, the best word. When you have the right type of chemistry, it's just magical. That's exactly what we're trying to gravitate toward, is to have that chemistry. It just makes incredible things happen."

The Cubs have portrayed themselves as a tight-knit group, but winning or losing often breeds chemistry, and the Cubs have done mostly losing this year.

Pena's comments didn't seem to bother general manager Jim Hendry.

"Whenever you're having the year we're having, you're going to have a lot of things that are off," Hendry said. "We all left spring training we felt like we had a good clubhouse. When you start having a bad year and it starts slipping away from you, then there always are things that crop up that become issues. Some get magnified. Some keep rolling and get worse.

"I believe that always starts with success. As you try to move on every year, you try to get better and you try to eliminate people that aren't helping you win or not conducive to what you're trying to do. You keep trying to bring in quality people. Carlos Pena is a quality human being and a good player."

Letting Colvin play:

Reed Johnson started in right field in place of Tyler Colvin, who is 1-for-7 with a sacrifice fly since coming up from Class AAA Iowa.

Colvin is still expected to get most of the playing time in the wake of the trade of Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland.

"We need to find out whether he's an everyday guy or not by the end of this year because no matter how you slice it, the outfield situation, just like a few other areas, will have to be addressed in the off-season," Jim Hendry said.

"Sometimes the development process doesn't always run the progressive path that you'd like it. Tyler Colvin looked a year ago like, 'My God, what a tremendous job he did, 20 home runs in 358 at-bats, and a lot of it intermediate starts and not consistent starts.

"Just the normal thinking is it's going to keep continuing. Obviously, he hit a little snag this spring, and it carried on into the season."

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