Despite average, Rizzo on pace for big year

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
2:40
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Anthony RizzoAP Photo/Tom LynnAnthony Rizzo is on pace for a 40-home run, 120-RBI season.
CHICAGO -- A slow start did not appear to impact the confidence of Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Despite a .224 batting average, Rizzo began the month of May among the lead leaders in home runs (8) and RBIs (20). Rizzo, working with manager Dale Sveum and the Cubs' two hitting coaches, went back to the basics to rediscover his hitting mojo.

"The important thing for me is staying even keeled," Rizzo said. "Staying confident, taking things in stride whether you get three hits, four hits or strike out four times, you take it in stride and know it is a part of the game."

Despite the low batting average and .315 on-base percentage, Rizzo is on pace for a 40-homer, 120-RBI season.

"It is sometimes good to write down stuff when you are going well," Rizzo said. "When you do hit some ruts you can tell it isn't mechanical it is between the ears. You go back and read what you were doing well when you were doing it."

During his last six games entering play on Thursday, Rizzo was on a hitting tear, batting .429 with six extra-base hits and six RBIs.

Winding up a four-game series with the Padres, his former team, Rizzo looked back on the trade that brought him to the Cubs in the winter of 2011 for pitcher Andrew Cashner.

"I thought it was a great trade," Rizzo said. "I got out of San Diego and I am way happier in Chicago. I love it here in Chicago and Cashner is in a pitcher's park and I am in a hitter's park now."

Rizzo has paid attention to the politics surrounding the Wrigley Field renovation proposals.

"Hey, the Yankees are the most storied team in history and they tore down old Yankee Stadium," he said. "We don't want to tear this down and we don't want to move. I think doing the renovations will be great. To modernizing it and to get players to want to come here more. I think it will be something special."

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167