GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A Chicago Sun-Times story suggested a rift between Mark DeRosa and Lou Piniella might have pushed the Cubs to trade the infielder to the Indians this winter.

If there was a rift, that would be news to DeRosa.

"I don't understand that," DeRosa said Thursday. "Whoever wrote that article is wrong. I had a great relationship with Lou. I respect what he did as a player, and I respect what he does as a manager. I enjoyed playing for him. He lit a fire under my butt. That guy [the writer] has it wrong."

In the writer's words, DeRosa "never seemed to hit it off" with Piniella, but Piniella also said that wasn't the case.

"I have nothing but respect for Mark," Piniella said. "He played exceedingly well, I used him all over. I think he had his best season playing for me.

DeRosa had a career year for the Cubs in 2008, batting .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs. He was dealt to the Indians for three Minor League pitchers -- Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub.

"I hope Lou didn't feel I gave that writer any reason to think we didn't have a good relationship, because it couldn't be further from the truth," said DeRosa.

In a lighter moment, Piniella told reporters he had a bet with DeRosa last year that if DeRosa hit 20 homers in 2008, he wouldn't have to make the long trek to Tucson for Spring Training road games. Piniella said he tried to pass along the message to Eric Wedge to honor that bet, but DeRosa's impending departure for the World Baseball Classic makes it moot.