Countdown to Camp: Outfield
February, 3, 2014
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsAfter batting .295 through August, Junior Lake trailed off in September, batting .254.With Chicago Cubs spring training set to begin Feb. 14 in Mesa, Ariz., we’re taking an early look around the diamond.
Major additions since Opening Day 2013: Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano
Subtractions: David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano
Holdovers: Nate Schierholtz
Darnell McDonald kicking around, and former No. 3 overall pick Josh Vitters has moved from infield to outfield.
Outlook: New manager Rick Renteria will have an easier time rotating the outfield than Dale Sveum did a season ago because the Cubs are more balanced. Expect the left-handed Sweeney and Ruggiano to split time in center while Lake and Schierholtz will get the occasional day off in left and right field as well. Schierholtz set career highs in several offensive categories in 2013, and if he comes close to repeating those numbers he’ll be traded midseason before he becomes a free agent. Again, Lake is the one to watch in the outfield. Can he get to the next level as an everyday starter?