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Cubs infielder Mike Olt has huge night

3/13/2014

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Maybe the “big four” of prospects should be expanded to five.

Chicago Cubs infielder Mike Olt had his signature game of the spring with a three-hit, two-homer, three RBI performance on Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners.

“The last couple of days I’ve felt much better, just in batting practice, doing some extra work,” Olt said afterward. “Made some serious strides.”

He overshadowed a monster home run by top prospect Javier Baez off Seattle starter Randy Wolf. Olt hit two out of the park, including one off of Wolf, as he tries to prove he belongs with the Cubs when they break camp come April.

“Last year I had a couple nights like this, but I felt like I almost got lucky,” Olt said.

That’s because he wasn’t seeing the ball well due to vision problems, which have since been cleared up. It had been a trying time that’s seemingly behind him.

“It’s easier for me to answer the questions now,” he said of his eye problems.

Olt followed his two home runs with an RBI single in the seventh, raising his spring batting average to .333 with a team-leading three home runs (with Baez) and seven RBIs.

Make no mistake, however, he wasn’t a favorite to win a starting job with the team out of spring training. Not after a season in which he hit just .168 in Triple-A after being acquired from the Texas Rangers.

But there was hope he would return to the form that earned him 28 home runs in 2012 at Double-A. He has to be giving the Cubs some pause for thought even though he hasn’t played any third base so far due to a “tender shoulder.” He says that should be fine as soon as next week, then he’ll be at the hot corner.

“I’m not going to look into it [making the team] right now,” Olt said. “I’m just going to keep focusing on getting better every day. Whatever happens I just want to be ready when I do get the opportunity to play.”

That could come next month at Wrigley Field if he keeps hitting as he did on Wednesday.