6/18 Cubs making room for Rizzo
Dale Sveum called Bryan LaHair Monday morning to give him a heads up. LaHair was going to start in right field for the first time this season, which means first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s arrival may be soon. Rizzo was batting .364 and leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs at Triple-A Iowa, hitting a two-run shot in the seventh inning on Sunday. The Cubs have said they don’t want to rush Rizzo and they are sticking to a plan but Sveum keeps checking his email to get daily updates on the young first baseman.
“Obviously, LaHair playing right field is something that might eventually happen,” Sveum said. “There’s a day when Rizzo is going to be here so this is getting him acclimated to the outfield, too.”
When? Neither Sveum nor Theo Epstein will say. Last year, Rizzo was batting .365 with 16 home runs at Triple-A Tucson when he was promoted to the Padres, and he struggled, batting .143. He’s made some adjustments this year, which include lowering his hands, and has wowed anyone who sees him. Epstein wants to make sure the timing is right.
“You have to look at what happened last year,” Epstein said Monday. “He had great numbers and was rushed a little bit and came up and struggled so its important to put players in position to succeed, and always put your Major League club in position to succeed. You see with the lineup tonight we might be taking a look at players in different positions to allow the team to be in a position to succeed when we do potentially make a move. Those things you don’t want to rush into, there’s more to development than numbers.”
– Carrie Muskat