3/5 Can Stewart get ready in time?

Ian Stewart was able to hit, take ground balls and jog on Tuesday, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted there isn’t much time for the third baseman to get ready for the start of the season.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a big question,” Sveum said when asked if Stewart had enough time to make the roster for the April 1 opener. “There just aren’t that many at-bats. You have to be productive in those at-bats. [Luis] Valbuena is playing and doing a real good job.”

Valbuena took over the third base job last year after Stewart needed to undergo surgery on his left wrist. This spring, Stewart doubled in his first at-bat in an intrasquad game Feb. 21, and pulled up because of a sore left quad. He has not played since and the hope is that he will get into a Cactus League game in one week.

Last season, Stewart batted .201 in 55 games before he was shut down. The Cubs do need more production at third base, and would like Stewart to have a repeat of 2009 when he hit 25 home runs and drove in 70 runs.

“Hopefully it all comes together because by the time he gets on the field, you’re looking at 20 to 30 maybe regular at-bats [this spring],” Sveum said. “We’ll probably send him down to hit in a Minor League game and have him leadoff every game.”

If he’s not ready, Valbuena would start at third. He batted .219 last year with the Cubs, but hit .306 this winter in Venezuela.

– Carrie Muskat

6 Comments

How can Bogusevic be valuable now when 2 starters (who struggle against LHP like Bogusevic) are Left Handed?

Brian’s best chance is a trade or outfield injury to the projected Top 5
Soriano, DeJesus, Schierholtz, Sappelt, & Hairston

Seems like Sveum said the same thing about Lillibridge last week who actually has a shot because he’s righty and crushes LHP.

Hoping Stewart is gone come Friday. Save the money, he is definately not worth the Fan agony. At least Valbuena plays hard and seems to appreciate the opportunity.

Sounds like a plan to me. I don’;t think Stewart is going to be ready anytime soon and Valbuena has been doing a good job so far. Is the pitching weak or is it just me thinking they aren’t being so hot.

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C’mon now guys… I have complete faith in Stewart’s abililty to get ready in time…in time to pack and head to the airport that is.

I think even without Garza, the pitching will be better this year. I also noticed that Wood went 4 innings yesterday or the day before. They are still pretty early in Spring Training, time will tell.
It is still going to be a rough year for the Cubs. 8 of their wins were against the Astros last year. Not positive, but I think they only have 3 games against the Astros this year.

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