Chicago Cubs Find New Left Fielder...in Bullpen!

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IJuly 13, 2009

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Sean Marshall of the Chicago Cubs poses during photo day at the Fitch Park Spring Training complex on February 23, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

On Sunday night, in front a national television audience, the creative genius Chicago Cubs' fans have been begging Lou Piniella to employ finally showed up.

If you read the play-by-play for the ninth inning, there is a sequence that will undoubtedly have you scratching your head.

Sean Marshall relieves Angel Guzman. OK, nothing major there.

Aaron Heilman relieves Marshall; Marshall to left field. What? It's bad enough Heilman's pitching, but Marshall in left field?

One batter, a strike out, later, Marshall moves back to the mound and Reed Johnson enters the game to play left.

Because the Cubs don't have a left handed pitcher anywhere in the organization other than Marshall, Piniella's hands have been tied all year.

And, with Tony La Russa always alternating sides of the plate with his batting order, it's impossible to play matchups with just one lefty against the Cardinals.

So Piniella rolled the dice. Chasing two runs, in the top of the ninth, he stuck his left handed reliever in left field for one batter so he could play the matchups.

Thankfully, Johnson was in the game when Colby Rasmus hit a sinking line drive to left field.

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There have been questionable moves with Carlos Zambrano pinch hitting and other pitchers pinch running for the Cubs this year, but sticking a reliever in the outfield for even one batter is as crazy as it's been thus far this season.

Sunday night's game also saw the Cubs move their best designated hitter, Jake Fox, behind the plate to catch for a couple innings. Nothing went wrong during his time behind the plate, but he last saw consistent time behind the dish in 2006.

Has Piniella lost his mind? Given up? Or is this just a notice of things to come at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs try to scratch their way back in the National League Central?