Sidelined the past several games with a pain in the neck, Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee finally had an MRI exam taken on Monday morning. While the results did not confirm a herniated disc or any other physical ailment, the MRI did reveal that Lee’s baseball skills are eroding at an unprecedented rate.

“This is the diagnosis we expected, but we weren’t quite ready to admit it yet,” said team trainer Mark O’Neal. “Derrek is just one in a long line of players having worn the Cubs uniform who has suffered from this condition.”

With Lee now joining injured Aramis Ramirez on the bench, manager Lou Piniella will move newly acquired utilityman Ryan Freel to first base to complete the shortest starting infield ever assembled in MLB history. The combined 10-foot in of Freel at first, Aaron Miles at second, Ryan Theriot at shortstop and Mike Fontenot at third, just edges out the starting four for the 1892 Pittsburgh Pirates, who had two legal midgets playing the corner spots.

“Look, it will kind of be a like a reprise of those munchkins from the ‘Wizard of Oz,'” said Piniella. “I sure love that movie. Those flying monkeys are really something.”

By Jeremy Barewin

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