Monday, August 13, 2012
Second was first choice for Cubs' Vitters
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- If Josh Vitters was going to hit toward the top of the Chicago Cubs order, he figured that the No. 2 spot would be his best chance.
He got that opportunity Tuesday when manager Dale Sveum slid him between leadoff man David DeJesus and No. 3 hitter Anthony Rizzo.
“I knew I wouldn’t bat leadoff here and the three spot is taken,” Vitters said. “I like batting higher in the lineup because it gets you to the plate in the first inning.”
Batting second is hardly new to Vitters. He spent most of his time in the three-through-five spots of the Triple-A Iowa order, but said he did get some action as a No. 2 guy. He said was mainly a No. 3 hitter in high school, but also got a few chances to bat second back then too.
Vitters becomes the ninth Cubs hitter to bat in the No. 2 spot. Starlin Castro has the most games there with 53, followed by Darwin Barney (31), Tony Campana (20), Reed Johnson (3), Joe Mather (2), Brett Jackson (2) and Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt with one each.
After playing sparingly in his first week in the major leagues, Sveum is looking to give Vitters more chances now. He will start in at least two of the three games of the current series against the Houston Astros and could even play in all three.
“It’s just a matter of wanting to get him up there and get him some at-bats,” manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s a chance for the home-run guys to pop some home runs possibly and break up him and Jackson. If anything else was to happen it would be him and Jackson back to back. (Welington) Castillo's been swinging the bat pretty well so I wanted to get him a little bit higher as well.”
Castillo was batting in the No. 6 spot Monday.