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Offensive deficiencies might knock Barney from Cubs' lineup

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney's outstanding fielding may not be enough to overcome his poor hitting in the eyes of first-year manager Rick Renteria.

Barney was on the bench for the season's second game Wednesday as the Cubs faced Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton. That led to the question of whether the right-handed-hitting Barney might play only against left-handed starters with switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio playing against right-handers.

Renteria would not commit to a straight platoon. However, he also would not commit to playing Barney regularly. Barney averaged 147 games a year during his three full major league seasons.

"I think it's just an opportunity for us to get guys in and use them in different positions they possibly can play and keep them comfortable moving from position to position on a daily basis," Renteria said. "It doesn't mean Barney isn't going to face righties. Not at all. These guys are going to be playing, and they're going to get plenty of playing time."

Barney won the National League Gold Glove for second basemen in 2012. However, he has a career .246 batting average, .293 on-base percentage and .335 slugging percentage over five seasons. Those numbers were just .208/.266/.303 in 141 games last year.

It seems clear, though, in the embryonic stages of Renteria's reign that Barney's defense does not hold as much weight as it did with former manager Dale Sveum.

"His glove is important to the equation," Renteria said. "The reality is when you're looking at the lineup as a whole, all the guys we have play a pretty good defensive ballgame."

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