Travis Wood, the main piece in the Marshall trade, ironed out some early issues and has spent most of the season in the Cubs rotation. Sappelt, though, had a little tougher time getting things on track.
So as players came and went from Triple-A Iowa to Wrigley Field this season, Sappelt remained stuck in the minor leagues and had no issues with it despite 38 games of major-league experience last season.
“It was just my hitting, my timing,” said Sappelt, who batted .266 at Iowa with 26 doubles, seven home runs and 54 RBIs. “I was not putting consistent swings on the ball. I went through about 15 batting stances. I was in a mental hole all year. I think I’m out of it now so they called me up.”
Thanks to Sappelt, Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson and Rangers outfielder josh Hamilton now have something in common. The stance Sappelt finally settled on is a melding of Jackson’s and Hamilton’s approaches at the plate.
Sappelt knows that opportunities are limited but manager Dale Sveum said he will get some opportunities against left-handed pitching. With the roster in flux, Sappelt knows there can be a chance over the final month to make an impression.
“I have to show that I can come off the bench and hit,” he said. “Hitting lefties is probably the main thing I have to be consistent at while I’m here. I think that will be my contribution for next year filing in for a Reed Johnson. We have a couple of guys going for that role so there will be competition in September. My goal is to prove that I belong.”