5/20 Could Rizzo join Cubs?
The Cubs offense has struggled this season but one player who hasn’t is Anthony Rizzo, who was batting .353 in 40 games at Triple-A Iowa. Could the first baseman join the big league team soon?
“That’s definitely going to be talked about,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “He’s done everything he can down there but once again, when you bring somebody up like that, he has to play every day. That’s the million dollar question. How do we get that playing time.”
Rizzo is considered a potential Gold Glove first baseman, and Bryan LaHair has done fine at first for the Cubs. LaHair could move to one of the outfield corners to make room. One possibility would be to add Rizzo when the Cubs play Interleague games in American League ballparks and need a designated hitter. They travel to Minnesota June 8-10 and play the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 18-20.
“It’s definitely something we’ll talk about and probably around the beginning of June and Interleague play when you need a DH,” Sveum said.
The problem is, when the Cubs call Rizzo up, it’s not going to be a short fix.
“I think he’s a huge asset at first base,” Sveum said of the 22-year-old Rizzo. “A left-handed first baseman, and he’s really, really good over there. I don’t think we’d move him to the outfield or move him around at all.”
Rizzo has made six errors at Iowa, but he’s also hit 14 home runs, totaled 39 RBIs and has a .706 slugging percentage. He was promoted to the big leagues last June after hitting .365 at Triple-A Tucson, and struggled, batting .143 in 35 games. Rizzo was sent back to Tucson, and recalled in September, hitting .133 in 14 games then.
The Cubs rank 10th in the National League with a .246 team batting average and are 12th with 29 home runs. They need some pop.
“Our offense has to step up, there’s no getting around it,” Sveum said. “We have to step up to get three-run innings, multiple crooked numbers all the time as much as you possibly can. It’s too difficult to not do anything off starting pitchers and think you’re going to do stuff off the back end of bullpens.”
— Carrie Muskat