Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Sveum: Lake an outfielder for now
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Don't expect Chicago Cubs phenom Junior Lake back in the infield anytime soon except on a "need" basis, according to manager Dale Sveum.
Junior Lake will get his chance the rest of this season to stick with the Cubs in the outfield for the future.
Lake played third base most of the time at Triple-A Iowa this year but with the recent additions of Kris Bryant (via draft) and Mike Olt (via trade), Lake is destined for the outfield where he's played exclusively since being called up after the All-Star break.
While he's learning his profession in the outfield, he's also going through a learning process at the plate. He broke an 0-for-14 slump on Monday night with two hits.
Sveum knows exactly what Lake is going to be dealing with as a major league hitter.
"Seeing these quality sliders like (Kyle) Lohse (Monday) night," Sveum said. "To be able to lay off and not swing out of the zone. That's always going to be the biggest thing, getting good pitches to hit and not being in a panic. It's all a learning process to face this kind of pitching on an everyday basis."
It doesn't hurt that Lake has shown a proficiency to bunt for a hit. He did it again on Monday pushing one toward first base.
"That was one part of his game that I never really saw," Sveum said. "I never knew he was such a quality bunter. That's a huge asset."
Sveum said Lake could play more center field if David DeJesus isn't playing or even traded but for now Lake is the everyday left fielder. He is batting .362 heading into Tuesday's doubleheader against Milwaukee.
Arrieta short term: Despite his desire to stick with the Cubs, don't expect newly-acquired pitcher Jake Arrieta to be around after his Cubs debut start on Tuesday night.
Arrieta was added to the roster as an extra player per major league rules for doubleheaders, but Sveum says this is a one-time thing no matter how he performs.
"We're OK right now," he said. "(Chris) Rusin is pitching well and (Carlos) Villanueva. We are where we are right now."
Baker recovery: There's still no timetable for Scott Baker's return to the major leagues. He hasn't pitched since 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Baker is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in three starts for Class-A Kane County.
"(He’s a) little better," Sveum said. "The command still seemed a little short."
Vizcaino slow going: One of the main acquisitions of the July 2012 trading period for the Cubs was pitcher Arodys Vizcaino. He was brought in from the Atlanta Braves for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson but hasn't pitched for the Cubs after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2012. The Cubs were hoping to see him pitch this season in some capacity.
"(He's) getting ready to start tossing but we're a long way away from (pitching)," Sveum said.