9/7 Cubs notebook

* Scott Baker will make his first Major League start since Aug. 8, 2011, on Sunday when he takes the mound in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers.

“He’s built up pretty good,” Dale Sveum said of the right-hander, who has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012. “I’m not going to put a limit on [Sunday's game]. He’s obviously not going to go over 100 pitches. We’ll see how things go. We have plenty of guys in the bullpen. It’s not a necessity to do anything but evaluate and let him pitch.”

* Ryan Sweeney will get a good look in September so the Cubs can gauge what to do next season with the outfielder.

“He’s pretty savvy, he knows what’s going on,” Sveum said. “He’s a quality left-handed bat, has the ability to hit home runs. You give him 500, 700 plate appearances that he’s never gotten before, I think you could project that to be a pretty good year.”

Sweeney missed time after injuring his ribs when he crashed into the outfield wall in Seattle.

“He’s got an ability in center field to make things look easy,” Sveum said. “You don’t want to put anybody in a Jim Edmonds category but he makes it look easy like Jim Edmonds did without a great deal of speed.”

* Junior Lake leads all Major League rookies in hits since the All-Star break, but on Saturday, the Cubs outfielder got a day off. Lake, who hit his first grand slam on Friday, was not in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Brewers on Saturday. It’s part of Sveum’s effort to give the outfielders on the roster enough playing time.

In 45 games with the Cubs, Lake has 55 hits, including five home runs. Sveum said he could project the outfielder finishing with at least 15 home runs in a full season.

“He’s got tremendous raw ability,” Sveum said. “We’ve witnessed that since the All-Star break. The power is there. You’re talking about doing things, and people still have to get the 700 plate appearances to project anything. He has the power and ability to obviously hit 15 home runs [in a single season].”

* Sveum was asked how he would judge Anthony Rizzo’s season.

“In his second year, many people in this game would take 85 to 90 [RBIs] and 25 home runs,” Sveum said. “We’re down on the average and all that, but the bottom line is, it’s been a good learning year for him and understanding about playing every day and the pitching and all that. It’s still a pretty good year for a kid who had to play every single day for the first time in his career.”

Rizzo entered Saturday’s game batting .232 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

2 Comments

In my opinion, if you’re going to keep Sweeney, he belongs in LF. Lake in CF, Bogusevic in RF. You would have solid defense, power and youth in the outfield. That still leaves some serious issues up the middle as far as the infield is concerned.

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