Former No. 1 pick Vitters moves to the OF

September, 17, 2013
9/17/13
9:56
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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MILWAUKEE -- Former No. 1 Chicago Cubs draft pick Josh Vitters will move to left field, team president Theo Epstein said Tuesday.

Vitters was drafted No. 3 overall in 2007 as a third baseman, but his progress has been slowed by injuries and ineffectiveness.

"He's going to come to spring training ready to re-establish himself," Epstein said.

The Cubs drafted and traded for two third-base prospects this summer, forcing a move to the outfield for Vitters. He was a minor league call-up last season but struggled to a .121 batting average and .193 on-base percentage in 109 plate appearances. He had a leg injury in spring training this season, putting him behind. He had back and rib problems as well.

"He has a program in place that we've signed off on that does not include winter ball," Epstein said. "It involves making himself a more complete baseball player. Working on the mental side of the game. He's really excited about it."

Epstein wasn't as certain about another first-round pick, Brett Jackson. He also was slowed by injuries and struggled during his time in the majors last season. This year he was demoted to Double-A.

"Still to be determined," Epstein said of Jackson's immediate future. "He may end up taking the same path."

Epstein said injured prospects Jorge Soler (foot) and Albert Almora (groin) are on pace to be healthy for the start of the Arizona Fall League.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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