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Cubs News: Pot and Piniella

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on Jun 26, 2009 5:00PM

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tested positive for pot at this year's World Baseball Classic, meaning he's banned from international play for the next two years. Meanwhile, he will face no disciplinary action from either the Cubs or Major League Baseball. In a statement released by the team yesterday, Soto said:

"While I fully acknowledge my inappropriate behavior, I want to assure my fans and my family that this was an isolated incident. I do not say this to minimize or deflect from my conduct and I fully understand the ramifications of my actions. I have and will accept any and all consequences. I am fully dedicated to the game of baseball and my teammates, and I apologize for any distraction and embarrassment this may cause them. Finally, I would like to thank the Chicago Cubs organization for its support in this matter. I take great pride in putting on my Cubs uniform every day and I look forward to helping the team achieve a successful season."

Last year's NL Rookie of the Year, Soto played for Puerto Rico at this year's WBC. Soto has been struggling at the plate this year for the Cubs. Entering this weekend's second round of the Crosstown Classic against the White Sox, batting only .227 with just six home runs and 21 RBIs. [ESPN, Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, things aren't getting any easier for Soto's manager, Lou Piniella. It's easy to forget the Cubs rattled off four wins in a row last week after losing four straight this week including being swept in Detroit. Still, Sweet Lou finds himself on the defensive. After being asked if he was lacking fire, Lou responded, "I'm doing the best I can. That's all I can do. Last year we won 97 games and I was the manager of the year in the National League. And all of a sudden this year, I don't have any fire? That's why we're not winning? I don't buy that at all." As for any question about whether or not he'll be back next year, Lou only said, "I'm signed through next year, and that's it. I'm signed...The club picked up my option at the end of last season, and I'm signed through next year." While the Trib's Paul Sullivan implies vagueness in Lou's response - "That answer could be interpreted in many ways. Just because he's signed doesn't mean he'll be back. Nevertheless, Piniella refused to confirm his return." - we're willing to take it at it's face value and count on seeing Lou in blue pinstripes next spring.