Mental approach hindering Cubs' Vitters


CHICAGO – Anthony Rizzo has already shown what he can do and Brett Jackson is currently on a home-run binge himself.

That leaves the third player in the Cubs’ impressive trio of youngsters to show what he is made of.

One National League scout remarked recently that he isn’t yet sold on Cubs rookie Josh Vitters, and interestingly it is Vitters' play at third base that has him concerned about the young player’s overall game.

The way the scout sees it, Vitters’ throws to first base, especially with two outs, are a sign that he is somewhat scrambled mentally as he tries to adjust to life on the big-league level. Vitters appears to aim his two-out throws, showing that that he is trying to control the situation instead of letting his instincts take over.

Manager Dale Sveum, who has been careful to not put pressure on his young players, has even admitted that Vitters seems to be overloaded on the mental side.

“Some people take on a little more than they can bite off sometimes and right now he’s got a lot going on at the plate and defensively,” Sveum said. “He’s done an OK job defensively, but he needs to develop on an everyday basis in at-bats and understand the sequences of a pitcher and what he is trying to do with situational hitting. There’s a long way to go yet.”

Vitters was not in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers as Luis Valbuena played third base and batted second. In 16 games this season, Vitters is batting just .093 (5-for-54) with a .185 slugging percentage and a .107 on-base percentage.

He put together an impressive season at Triple-A Iowa, batting .304 with 32 doubles, 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in 110 games, while being named a midseason All-Star.