Clevenger continues to make his case

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
9:53
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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MIAMI -- Steve Clevenger continues to turn his part-time gig into a strong statement for more playing time.

To his credit, the young Chicago Cubs catcher isn’t openly pleading to see his name in the lineup more often, but the way he is playing speaks louder than words could.

[+] EnlargeSteve Clevenger
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesThe Cubs' Steve Clevenger slides into home safely in front of the Marlins' John Buck.
Clevenger got his third start of the season in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Miami Marlins and made another impression on both offense and defense. His seventh-inning double and dive around the tag at home after Bryan LaHair's single got the Cubs even for an inning anyway.

He also caught his third consecutive solid outing as Ryan Dempster looked dominating, much like Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza had in previous Clevenger starts behind the plate.

Catching skills can still stay sharp after days on the bench, though. Clevenger is showing what he is made of by still delivering at the plate despite the sporadic playing time.

“He’s got what sometimes you call a slump-proof hack,” Sveum said. “It’s really simple. He uses his hands and doesn’t get too big. He understands velocity and what he has to do with it. He can just barrel the ball up and it jumps off his bat too.”

Geovany Soto still figures to get most of the playing time behind the plate as the everyday catcher, but Clevenger should keep getting his two days in the lineup, not to mention some late-inning pinch-hit chances.

Sveum even said Tuesday that he might even be willing to get Clevenger some time at first base, third base and even second base. Clevenger has already been a late-inning infield replacement in a game last series at St. Louis.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.280 11 52 41
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 20
RBIS. Castro 52
RA. Rizzo 59
OPSA. Rizzo .892
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104