Cubs notes: Olt to (finally) debut at 3rd?

March, 14, 2014
3/14/14
6:20
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
MESA, Ariz. -- Finally, Chicago Cubs infielder Mike Olt is going to play his natural position. At least, we think he is.

Manager Rick Renteria has been saying for a while that Olt would play third base soon. Olt threw from there on Friday during practice as he recovers from a sore shoulder that's nagged him since spring training began.

“All things being equal, he’s coming along and showing everybody he’s back on track as to who he was in the past,” Renteria said.

That’s a reference to Olt's hitting more than anything else. Olt belted two home runs Wednesday night against the Mariners and raised his batting average this spring to .333. But that’s all happened while playing first base or as the designated hitter.

Olt called it a “big week” coming up with his chance to debut at third very soon. He is scheduled to play first base again this weekend, so the soonest he would play third is next week. It sounds like Renteria is aware of the implications.

“We were very happy that the day he had (and it) was really important to us,” Renteria said.

Hammel progressing: Jason Hammel pitched against Cubs minor leaguers Thursday, going six innings while giving up eight hits and three runs. He threw 75 pitches and didn’t walk anyone.

“He was elevated a little bit, made some adjustments towards the end of his outing,” Renteria said. “His slider was working well. Had some good action.”

Replay strategy: Renteria still isn’t convinced batter Ryan Kalish was out on a close play at first base in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. He asked for his first replay of the season.

“It was inconclusive,” Renteria said of what the umpires told him.

Similar to football, an inconclusive replay means the call on the field will stand. Renteria believes if Kalish was initially called safe that call would have been upheld. The Cubs are still finalizing their strategy for challenging calls.

“It’s a work in progress,” Renteria said.

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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BA LEADER
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OTHER LEADERS
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RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
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SOJ. Arrieta 167