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I went to sleep not long after the game ended, appropriately enough on Corey Patterson's eighty-third strikeout of the year (and having gone 4-for-his-last-32 with 12 K's), and so it wasn't till morning that I woke up to the news (and about 12 billion of your comments!) that Corey, and Jason Dubois, had been sent to Triple-A Iowa, to be replaced by Matt Murton and Adam Greenberg.

The shocking thing isn't that this was necessary -- it was, and has been for a few weeks -- but that any player with as much major league experience (546 games, 2039 at-bats) would have to be sent down in this way. Corey has talent. Even those of you who have been after Corey's hide for years would admit this. He ought to be one of the best players in baseball. But a combination of poor approach, not enough minor league seasoning, bad attitude, and mishandling by his current manager, have put this highly skilled player in a place where only a change of scenery could possibly help him.

Depending on how well Murton and Greenberg do, Patterson might not return till September, and I think that might be the right thing to do.

Object lesson: the Braves recently called up Jeff Francoeur, also from Double-A, the same level where Murton and Greenberg have been playing. Did Bobby Cox sit him on the bench? No, in fact he placed Francoeur in the starting lineup a day ahead of the original schedule, due to the doubleheader.

Result? Bang! Three-run homer by Francoeur for his first major league hit, turning a 5-4 game into an 8-4 lead, and eventually a 9-4 rout, the Cubs' eighth straight loss. That wasn't the only problem -- Roberto Novoa throwing "the Hawkins" to Andruw Jones was the first mistake.

Why was Novoa in the game, anyway? The situation called for Mike Remlinger. I've read some of your comments saying that Ryan Dempster should have started the eighth, and maybe this was the situation for that -- but Dusty Baker won't do that, and there aren't more than a handful (Joe Torre is one) of major league managers who will put their closer in for a two-inning save.

The last time the Cubs lost more than eight straight was by the horrendous 1997 team, which had losing streaks of nine and fourteen games.

All of this is to say that Matt Murton better be in the starting lineup tonight. It has already been made clear that Jerry Hairston will play CF and lead off.

The leadoff idea is a sound one, as Hairston's OBA in that spot approaches .400, and that ought to immediately improve the offense. It will hurt the club's defense in center field, as Hairston is, well, not a very good center fielder. Look for Greenberg to play a lot of "defensive replacement". I saw Greenberg play in spring training the last two years. He hustles on every play, is a very good defensive outfielder, and will also take a pitch or three. As a major leaguer, he projects as a fourth or fifth outfielder, maybe a Todd Hollandsworth type -- and the Cubs surely need someone like that on their bench, just as they need Holly himself on the bench.

So, tonight, I hope that Jim Hendry has ordered Baker to play Murton in left field. It really doesn't matter at this point where he bats -- guys like this typically hit seventh or eighth on their first major league callup -- as long as he's getting playing time. It makes no sense to put someone like this on the roster unless he's going to play. Murton had some power in the lower minors, but at West Tenn was hitting for a high average (.342) and only mid-range power (eight homers).

I had a longer post mostly written, but "the dog ate my homework" -- i.e. the server and the browser ate my post, and I had to start from scratch. I think I got most of what I wanted to say in this one, though.

Some will disagree, but this season is not yet over. Yes, the Cubs are way behind -- forget about the NL Central, and eight games back and in seventh place in the wild card is a long way to come back. But with 78 games left, and a trading deadline still 23 days away, and with a significant, "statement" roster move made last night, Jim Hendry is telling us that he hasn't given up.

Don't you either.