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Junior Lake’s future with the Cubs might be in center field

Junior Lake

Junior Lake

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Updated: July 31, 2013 7:24PM

Converted infielder Junior Lake has a home now in the outfield, where manager Dale Sveum sees him improving the more he plays.

Lake’s hitting already has been impressive, but Sveum has been surprised at Lake’s ability to bunt.

“That’s one part of his game I never saw in the small sample we had in spring training,’’ he said Tuesday. “I didn’t know he was such a quality bunter. That’s a huge asset because, in the long run, you’re going to get a lot of hits. People have to respect your bunts, especially on the pull side.’’

Lake went 1-for-4 in Game 2
and 0-for-5 in Game 1 of the doubleheader Tuesday against the Brewers. This followed going
2-for-4 on Monday to end an 0-for-14 stretch that followed his 15-for-30 start.

Sveum said Lake eventually might be best-suited in center field, though that position belongs to David DeJesus now.

“If we didn’t have DeJesus, we’d have to think about that,” Sveum said. “He’s the kind of guy you’d want covering a lot of space. He looks like he can go get ’em. It’s just a matter of more experience, whether it’s winter ball or spring training, for that to happen.’’

Very far-fetched

One trade-deadline rumor Sveum dismissed is the possibility of moving starter Jeff Samardzija.

“It’s not my job, so I don’t know what goes on in those meetings if somebody brings up a name, but it’s not realistic,’’ Sveum said.

“This is me speaking: I think it’s very, very far-fetched. A guy you control for that long [two more years before he would be a free agent] and potentially a No. 1 [rotation] guy . . . sure you’ll listen, but are you [an opposing team] going to want to trade half your team?’’

The more likely trade candidates remain closer Kevin Gregg, left-handed reliever James Russell and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

The non-waiver deadline is
3 p.m. Wednesday.

No hurry

Rehabbing Scott Baker had another so-so outing at Class A Daytona, but Sveum said the Cubs aren’t concerned because their starting pitching is intact for now.

“It’s just kind of a slow development for him right now, but we’re OK with that because we don’t have a big need right now for starting pitching,’’ he said.

Baker worked 31/3 innings, giving up two runs and three hits.

Hot start

C.J. Edwards, the Class A right-hander obtained from the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade, struck out his first seven batters in his debut Sunday with Daytona. He struck out eight in five innings, giving up one hit and one walk.

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