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updated: 8/13/2012 11:39 PM

Sveum mixing, matching Cubs lineup

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  • The Cubs' Darwin Barney celebrates with teammate Starlin Castro after hitting a 2-run home run against the Houston Astros in the second inning Monday night. The Cubs won 7-1.

    The Cubs' Darwin Barney celebrates with teammate Starlin Castro after hitting a 2-run home run against the Houston Astros in the second inning Monday night. The Cubs won 7-1.
    Associated Press


While fans are urged to get their pencils and scorecards ready, Cubs manager Dale Sveum most likely will have the pencil and eraser working the rest of this season.

Sveum trotted out a new lineup for Monday night's 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros, one featuring rookie third baseman Josh Vitters batting second.

The manager had some interesting things to say about his batting order and some even more intriguing things to say about shortstop Starlin Castro and where he might fit in a certain kind of lineup.

First things first.

Sveum started a lineup with several youngsters: Vitters, Brett Jackson, Castro, Welington Castillo and Anthony Rizzo.

Vitters did not play Sunday or start Saturday, and as promised, Sveum had him in Monday's lineup.

"It's just a matter of getting him up there and getting him some at-bats, chance of the home run guys to pop some home runs possibly," Sveum said. "Break up him and Jackson. Castillo's been swinging the bat pretty well, and I wanted to get him up a little bit higher, as well."

But things are likely to change day to day, except for a few constants.

"I think you'll probably see quite a few different types of lineups on a consistent basis," Sveum said. "For the most part, you'll see (David) DeJesus leading off, (Alfonso) Soriano in the fourth and Castro in the fifth, and obviously, Rizzo in the third.

"Other than that, you might see some mixing and matching here and there, depending on who catches."

Castro has been hitting fifth lately. He also has hit first, second and third this season. Sveum was asked where Castro might fit ideally.

"He's kind of a cut-and-slasher," Sveum said. "No matter where he is in the lineup, it's not going to change his approach right now, either.

"What makes sense, the way he hits, not really working counts and working walks, probably in a real world and a prolific offense, he's probably more the sixth and seventh spots, really."

It was No. 8 hitter Darwin Barney who put the Cubs ahead 2-0 with a 2-run homer off Astros starter Armando Galarraga in the second. Soriano added a 2-run shot, his 21st, in the fifth.

Jeff Samardzija took care of things on the pitching end, working 7 innings of 4-hit ball, giving up a homer to pinch hitter Brandon Barnes. Samardzija's 11 strikeouts matched his career best.

"I work hard in the off-season and got down to Arizona early," said Samardzija, who improved to 8-10 with a 4.06 ERA. "There's a lot of the same feel as last year, where August and September hit and I really started feeling really good.

"Yeah, you put that work in in the off-season so you feel good late in the year. It's my first year of starting, so I really want to show this staff I can pitch late in the year and still pitch late in the games late in the year.

"It's a big proving year for me, so I'm just trying to cover all my bases with showing them that I can be the guy they want me to be."

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