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DeWitt a surprise starter in left field

BOSTON -- Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade is starting his least experienced outfielder, Blake DeWitt, in left field on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.

DeWitt has only played left field once in his major league career, coming off the bench in the ninth-inning on May 12 in a 9-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. DeWitt had no chances in that game, as all three Cardinals hitters struck out.

“When you play a guy who’s a bench guy, who comes off the bench and gets a start once in a while, if you can avoid it, you’d rather not DH him,” Quade said. “You get him in the game and get him on the field.”

Quade said that DeWitt’s aggressiveness in batting practice and initiative in taking outfield practice on his own prompted him to give DeWitt a shot in left.

“This is just another possible option,” Quade said. “I’m anxious to see him out there, his work has been good. Most guys who play the infield can [play the outfield]. I’m not expecting great things, but I won’t be surprised if his instincts and jumps are fantastic.”

“This started without me asking [him to do] anything,” Quade said. “This started because he’s a guy who wants to play. He takes ground balls at second and third base. I’m surprised he hasn’t caught a bullpen [session] yet.”

DeWitt began taking fly balls in the outfield three weeks ago and Quade and his coaching staff watched him work out. He is trying to get into the lineup any way he can after losing his starting second base job to Darwin Barney in spring training.

“I’m definitely pretty excited about it,” DeWitt said. “Fenway Park. It’s a lot like Wrigley Field. Obviously the Green Monster is out there, I paid attention to it last night. If a ball is hit down the line it will react differently than if it’s hit in the gap. However, I’m just worried about catching it and throwing it.”

Regular left fielder Alfonso Soriano will be the designated hitter on Saturday, after spending most of Friday night’s 15-5 loss chasing down line drives off the wall and in the gap.

  • Saturday night’s game will feature both teams wearing throwback uniforms from the early 20th century. Before this series, the teams last met at Fenway in the 1918 World Series.

    The Cubs played a throwback game in Los Angeles on May 4, wearing 1940s replica jerseys in a 5-1 win. The Cubs public relations department said that the team is 4-0 all-time when wearing throwback uniforms.

  • The Cubs are 4-9 lifetime in the regular season at Fenway Park.

    The first 12 games they played at Fenway were against the old Boston Braves while the Braves’ new stadium was under construction. Those games were played between September of 1914 and July of 1915, according to baseball historian Ed Hartig and the Chicago Cubs media relations department.