Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Friday, June 29, 2012
Valbuena helping Cubs to restore power

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- At long last the Cubs appear to have found a third baseman who can give them a little production.

Luis Valbuena
Luis Valbuena is providing the Cubs with much-needed power from third base.

Luis Valbuena hit his third home run since joining the Cubs on June 14 to power the 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros. Friday’s long ball was an opposite-field blast to the bleachers in left-center field similar to one he hit on the last home stand against the Boston Red Sox.

“He's done a great job and has gotten big hits too,” manager Dale Sveum said. “When he gets his hits, they all seem to be big hits, to take the lead, to add on if we’re up by one. He's done a great job. I wish we had him here earlier maybe.”

That last comment was in reference to Ian Stewart’s struggles. The injured third baseman had a .201 batting average with five home runs and 17 RBIs before he went on the disabled list with wrist soreness on the same day Valbuena was recalled.

With Stewart still experiencing wrist soreness after his latest cortisone injection, Valbuena’s stay this season could end up being a lengthy one.

So far the struggles Valbuena has exhibited have been on defense. He has five errors in 13 games already. Stewart had five errors in 53 games.

But the Cubs are content getting the offense they have been so desperate for and can work on the defensive side of things as the season progresses.