PEORIA, Ariz. — Lou Piniella is still waiting for his last managerial job to get easier.
The Cubs manager returned to one of his favorite places Monday, the spring training home of the Mariners, the team he led for 10 years through its glory years ending in 2002.
Piniella, 64, used the homecoming to declare this is the fifth and final stop on a largely successful managing carousel that began in 1986 with the Yankees. It has included a World Series title with Cincinnati in 1990 and an AL-record 116 wins with Seattle in 2001, though three mostly frustrating years with his hometown team, the Rays.
"This will be my last job, I can tell you that," Piniella said before his Cubs, injury-wracked already, beat the Mariners 6-5. "Maybe a little consulting job somewhere, but outside of that, no, this will be it managing-wise."
Asked if he would be open to an extension of his contract worth nearly $10-million, which is scheduled to end after the 2009 season but has an option year for 2010, Piniella said: "Oh, I didn't say anything. All I am saying is I've got this year and next year. Nothing more and nothing less.
"As long as I am enjoying it, and as long as the club is playing well and ownership group here and the front office is satisfied, I'm open for discussion," he said. "But I'm not looking ahead, no. I'm looking to this year & and next year will take care of itself.
"It's been a long career and a lot of fun. And a lot of work, too."
That work has included simply fielding enough healthy bodies for a team lately.
Alfonso Soriano, who received a $136-million contract before last season, fractured his right middle finger Sunday. Piniella said the leftfielder will be out at least a week.
"His finger was really swollen today," Piniella said. "He'll have to tell us, but it's going to be awhile."
Slugging third baseman Aramis Ramirez has had swelling and soreness in his right throwing shoulder. Piniella said Ramirez might return Thursday.
"Ramirez is probably the least of our worries," Piniella said.
A bigger one is second baseman Mark DeRosa. He has been out since Feb. 23, when he was taken to a hospital by ambulance then released after an irregular heartbeat he had during drills. Piniella estimated DeRosa might miss another 10 days while the Cubs work him into baseball activities.
"Look, I thought this was going to be an easy spring training, I really did," Piniella said, laughing. "I don't know, is there such a thing as an easy Cubs spring training?
"We've encountered some problems here early, and we've just got to ride them out. Thank God that these things are happening now, rather than later on."