Sveum to Cubs 3B Ian Stewart: Don’t hurry back
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 21, 2013 9:03PM
Updated: April 21, 2013 11:52PM
MILWAUKEE — Despite their struggles and lack of infield depth, the Cubs aren’t looking for a quick return from the disabled list by third baseman Ian Stewart.
“We’re not in a big hurry,” manager Dale Sveum said before the Cubs were swept by the Brewers, losing 4-2 Sunday.
Stewart, whose spring training was wiped out by a quad injury, went 0-for-4 for Class AAA Iowa and is 1-for-17 with eight strikeouts since starting his minor-league rehab assignment.
“[Luis ] Valbuena right now has probably been one of our most consistent players defensively and offensively — on-base percentage, getting his walks. He’s doing a good job,” Sveum said of the converted second baseman, who’s hitting .217 with eight walks and two homers.
“There’s no real urgency [with Stewart]. He’s got to go down there and get hot swinging the bat.”
As far as having only Cody Ransom for infield help off the bench, Sveum added, “We’re OK. . . . You make do.”
Cubs starters pitched reasonably well during the lost weekend, allowing six earned runs in 18 innings (3.00 ERA), but Edwin Jackson and Scott Feldman committed errors that tacked on five combined unearned runs to their starts.
The Cubs also outhit the Brewers in each game.
“And you lose all three,” Sveum said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
The conspicuous difference: Six errors by six players led to eight unearned runs — out of 14 total — by the Brewers.
The Cubs have 17 errors in 17 games and have allowed 14 unearned runs.
“I feel bad,” said shortstop Starlin Castro, who committed one of the errors Saturday. “That’s why the team’s losing right now, because of the errors. We’ve got to keep it together and work hard, and we’re going to be all right.”
Things don’t figure to get any easier the next three days against the Reds, who can hit and pitch and lead the league in fielding.
“We’re going into a place where we’ve got to play clean baseball to beat those guys,” Sveum said.
A less conspicuous reason for the Cubs’ struggles: hitting with men in scoring position. They went 1-for-17 in the series with only a run-scoring single Saturday.
“It’s just a broken record every day,” Sveum said.
◆ The Cubs’ starting rotation has a 3.13 ERA, which is in the top five in the National League.
But three members of that rotation — Feldman, Jackson and Jeff Samardzija — are tied for the league lead with three losses apiece.
◆ Castro extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third inning.