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“We got into it a bit,” Piniella said upon arriving at the Peoria (Ariz.) Sports Complex for an exhibition game against Seattle. As he spoke, a 20-something man stood in the first row behind the dugout wearing a dark blue T-shirt with the Cubs’ logo printed on the front under the words “Why Not Us?” Lou Piniella had seen just four, winless exhibition games and had been managing his latest challenge for just three weeks. But that glimpse was disturbing enough for Piniella to demand during a team meeting Monday morning that his Chicago Cubs change their play immediately. Sheffield needs 45 homers to reach 500, which would help his Hall of Fame chances. It’s a situation he doesn’t think about. “Not important at all,” Sheffield said. Lester returns: Jon Lester pitched in his first game since his last cancer treatment just 2 months ago. The Boston Red Sox left-hander retired all three batters he faced on grounders in Fort Myers, Fla. Hamilton off to fast start with Reds: Josh Hamilton has been one of the Cincinnati Reds’ best hitters in the first week of spring training games, showing his skills haven’t deteriorated during years away from the game caused by his cocaine addiction. In Cincinnati’s first five games, Hamilton has gone 9 for 16 (.563) with a pair of doubles and a long home run. Murcer upbeat and looking to return to TV booth: Bobby Murcer is in great spirits and remains determined to return to the New York Yankees’ YES Network broadcast booth this season. Murcer is recovering from surgery on Dec. 28 to remove a malignant brain tumor. Marlin setback: The Florida Marlins’ injury-plagued pitching staff had another setback when right-hander Ricky Nolasco was scratched from his first scheduled spring-training start because of back spasms. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Why not yet? “We’ve got some work to do. This is not some push-button operation,” Piniella said, chuckling. It appeared to work Monday. The Cubs played what Piniella called “a great game.” They got strong pitching from new starter Ted Lilly and former ace Kerry Wood to overcome a struggling start by Mark Prior in a 6-5 win. Prior, who missed most of last season with injuries, started and allowed three earned runs and got just four outs before Piniella pulled his expected ace. Sheffield expects big year from A-Rod: Gary Sheffield brought his strong opinions back to Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., predicting a big year for former New York Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez and saying he never thinks about making the Hall of Fame. “Alex is going to have the best year he’s had since he’s been here,” Sheffield said before the Tigers lost to the Yankees 6-5.