Iowa Cubs play in empty park

Published6/16/2008 12:11 AM

TORONTO -- There is no attendance figure listed for the Iowa Cubs' game Saturday.

That's because there was no attendance.


The Cubs' Class AAA farm team played its scheduled game Saturday against Nashville, winning 5-4. But because a voluntary evacuation order for parts of flood-soaked Des Moines had not been lifted, no fans were admitted to the game.

"They weren't comfortable to open up the gates yet," said Randy Bush, the Cubs' assistant general manager.

Outfielder Matt Murton had this to say to the Des Moines Register of his home town: "Unprecedented. Even when I was 5 years old, my dad used to watch me and my brother play catch in the backyard."

The Iowa Cubs had a doubleheader scheduled for Sunday, and fans were allowed back into the ballpark.

Lefty Sean Marshall worked 5 innings in Saturday's game, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs, throwing 79 pitches, 50 for strikes. Marshall had been battling a hamstring injury

"He had a good outing yesterday," Bush said. "All the reports I got were that it was real solid, and everybody was pleased with it, so he's coming right along. No ill effects from the hamstring."

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Righty Kevin Hart, whom the Cubs moved to Class AA Tennessee from Iowa because of the flood, worked 3 innings Saturday, giving up 2 hits and 1 run.

"He was sharp, also," Bush said, adding that Hart will head back to Iowa in the next few days.

Fame game: The Cubs head to Cooperstown, N.Y., today for the Hall of Fame Game exhibition at Doubleday Field.

Cubs regulars will see one inning of action. The Cubs will call up seven minor-league pitchers and nine position players, all from Class A, to play most of the game.

The Hall of Fame Game wipes out a much-needed off-day. The Cubs then will fly to Tampa Bay to play three with the tough Rays. That includes a Thursday night game ahead of a Friday afternoon game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.

Manager Lou Piniella most likely will send the Friday and Saturday pitchers, Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, home on Thursday.

"It's a tough day for us tomorrow," Piniella said. "Look, we're honored that we're going to Cooperstown. There's a lot of history there. Certainly it's been a game they've played for a while, but I tell you, it's a tough little schedule we're in, not only the Cooperstown thing tomorrow, but we've got the night game in St. Pete on Thursday, day game back in Chicago.


"We we're going to rest our team as much as possible. We'll get them out there for an inning or two, that'll be the end of it."

Said first baseman Derrek Lee: "I'd rather be in Tampa on the beach for the day off. Still, you respect the game and the Hall of Fame."

Piniella said none of his top players would take part in the home run hitting contest before the Hall of Fame Game.

DH doings: Derrek Lee moved from first base to DH Sunday for the second time this series. The Cubs will need a DH in Tampa Bay, and against lefty Scott Kazmir on Tuesday, Lou Piniella may use catcher Geovany Soto as the DH and play Henry Blanco behind the plate.

"Tuesday's going to be a little difficult with a left-hand starter," Piniella said. "We're a little short of right-hand bats. Wednesday and Thursday, we'll probably DH one of our big people, one of our everyday players."

Piniella is using the DH to give his players a rest without completely sitting them.


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