- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- The two home runs and the four hits total were only part of the reason the Chicago Cubs’ David DeJesus considered it a successful day.
The veteran, who is in his 10th season in the major leagues, not only powered a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros, he was leading by example for a number of young players on the Cubs’ roster.
“That’s big because I had Mike Sweeney when I was a youngster coming up, and I always saw him working out, making sure his body was right and he was prepared every day for the game,” said DeJesus, who came up in the Kansas City Royals organization. “That’s who I modeled my preparation from, and I think younger guys need to have those guys to look up to and we have a lot of them here. Hopefully they pick up something that I’m doing.”
It was also a day for a veteran to pick up the team after a rookie like Anthony Rizzo had done so much heavy lifting over the past month. DeJesus’ output, as he tied a career high in hits, came on a day when Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters combined to strike out six times.
When it comes to home runs, DeJesus probably had the hardest luck on the team, but he showed some perseverance. DeJesus, who has four home runs this season, was asked how many he should actually have.
“The other day when I hit one off Bronson (Arroyo) that they caught at the wall, I came in and (manager) Dale (Sveum) said, ‘You know, you should at least have 10 home runs right now,’” DeJesus said. “So when your manager is saying that, I’ll take 10.”
Sveum was indeed happy to see DeJesus get some power results.
“He finally hit those kind of balls when the wind was blowing a little bit,” Sveum said. “It wasn't a big wind but enough. He's been snake bit on balls he hit like that with the wind blowing in. It was nice to see him finally get a couple.”
Indeed it wasn’t completely a lost day for the kids, as Jackson had a pair of extra-base hits, including his first career RBI, despite the two-strikeout day.
“I was in a few two-strike counts today and obviously you take the good with the bad,” Jackson said. “A couple of nice at-bats. I’ve been working hard with the coaches and it’s starting to pay off and I’m starting to feel good at the plate.”