But Derrek Lee had to laugh out loud when he found out after Wednesday's 8-2 loss to Milwaukee that Alfonso Soriano was heading back to the leadoff spot only two games into the season.
The Cubs fell to 0-2 after a sloppy defensive effort against the Brewers, and Piniella already had seen enough of Soriano in the No. 2 hole after watching him go hitless in nine at-bats.
Piniella used 125 different lineups in 2007. He switched Soriano to the No. 2 hole in the middle of spring training when the Cubs still believed they could pry leadoff man Brian Roberts from Baltimore. But that didn't work out and Soriano has looked uncomfortable batting second ever since.
Before Wednesday's game, Piniella said he was amazed the Chicago media constantly is asking about his lineups.
"We just started," he laughed. "You know what's amazing—if I don't change the lineup I get asked 'Why aren't you changing it?' And if I do change it, [reporters say] 'You're tinkering.' … Hopefully, it works out and we don't have to change it."
Four hours later, Piniella swallowed hard and changed it, moving Ryan Theriot back into the No. 2 spot behind Soriano.
Was he doing it to make Soriano more comfortable?
"I don't know, but we'll just do it that way," Piniella said.
The Cubs were 69-56 with Soriano leading off in 2007, but Piniella said in spring training he didn't want his left fielder running much to prevent any leg injuries. Wednesday he said Soriano is "running better," adding, "We'll leave him in the leadoff hole and let him hit."
Soriano, obviously, likes the leadoff spot better than the No. 2 hole. His worst at-bat Wednesday came in the seventh with the Cubs trailing 5-2 and runners on second and third with two outs. Salomon Torres made Soriano chase a 2-2 slider out of the strike zone, and the Cubs were toast.
Soriano certainly wasn't the only one to blame for the Cubs' lackluster afternoon.
Ted Lilly served up a leadoff home run to Rickie Weeks on the first pitch and allowed four runs in 42/3 innings. Felix Pie missed a cutoff man that led to a run in the Brewers' two-run fourth. Geovany Soto let a runner score from third in the sixth when he made an ill-advised throw into center field on Jason Kendall's stolen base, and Kendall reached on an infield hit in the eighth when Mike Fontenot threw high to first, where pitcher Carmen Pignatiello was late covering.
"It's only two games, but it's certainly not a good start," Piniella said. "I told our team they better be ready to play. And I meant it too. I wasn't joking around. [Monday] we got beat. Today we didn't play well, and one of the things we need to do is play good defensive baseball and not give away runs ."
Lilly, who gave up five home runs in 19 spring innings, has not shown the fastball that made him so effective last season.
"That pitch is missing," Piniella said. "That wasn't his best stuff."
Lilly said he "wouldn't argue with Lou," probably his best decision of the day.