On base at rate of .394, Valbuena stays hot


PITTSBURGH -- He isn’t the most heralded player on the Chicago Cubs roster, but infielder Luis Valbuena continues to do his job both at the plate and in the field.

He had three more hits in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates after driving home the winning runs off the bench in Monday's 7-3 win. He’s 6-for-10 through the first three games of the series against the Bucs.

"Nothing different," Valbuena said. "I'm looking for my pitch and being aggressive in the zone."

While teammates Mike Olt and Darwin Barney are struggling, Valbuena is thriving. His batting average stands at .288, and his on-base percentage is through the roof at .394. His best attribute is giving a good at-bat. He sees more than four pitches per plate appearance and will battle a pitcher as well as anyone on the team.

"He’s a guy that continues to give you very, very good at-bats," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "Puts the barrel on the ball."

Valbuena might be used as a trade piece over the next couple of months with so many teams looking for left-handed hitting. Or he could just keep doing what he's doing and be a valuable role player in the coming years for the Cubs as they transition jobs to prospects.

And he's still getting better. Last year he was known for providing some power but not much else at the plate. This season he’s more rounded as a hitter. He claims it was simply getting experience that’s helped.

"Now I have more idea what [the pitcher is] going to throw me in the count," Valbuena stated. "I feel real good now."