Tony Campana’s speed is attractive to Cubs manager Dale Sveum
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org February 21, 2012 10:54PM
Tony Campana set a Cubs rookie record last season, successfully stealing on 92.3 percent of his attempts. | AP
Updated: March 23, 2012 8:24AM
MESA, Ariz. — Despite an offseason full of major changes to the roster, manager Dale Sveum counts very few openings on the position-player side, which could leave fan favorite Tony Campana fighting for a job.
“I don’t know if fight-for-a-job is right, but there’s competition for the last couple spots, no question about it,’’ said Sveum, who expects battles for the backup catcher job and maybe two other bench spots.
Campana, 25, made his big-league debut May 17. He went on to hit .259 and lead the Cubs with 24 stolen bases. His 92.3 percent success rate set a Cubs rookie record.
His speed would seem to be an especially big advantage for a field staff emphasizing a more athletic, small-ball approach.
“He brings a lot. I’ve seen him win games just with his speed,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘That comes into play with 162 games when you’re playing off the bench and spot starts and stuff like that. It’s a great asset to have, but he’s still got to fight for a job like other people.’’
Yo, Adrian — almost
Just over a year ago, the Cubs targeted slugger Adrian Gonzalez before Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox nabbed him in a trade from Jed Hoyer and the San Diego Padres.
But the Cubs might yet wind up with a Gonzalez in the infield if Edgar, Adrian’s older brother and former Padres teammate, wins a bench job.
“I liked the situation here with the Cubs and took the opportunity,’’ said Gonzalez, 33, a second baseman who signed a minor-league deal in December.
Now he just wishes the Cubs had been successful in going after Adrian.
“That would have been nice,’’ said Edgar, who played 193 games in 2008-09 with his brother. “He tried to get me over there in Boston.’’
Epstein is expected back at camp Wednesday after taking two days to tend to personal matters.
◆ Sveum said prospects Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger and former Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Jaramillo (no relation to Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo) are in the mix for Koyie Hill’s old backup job.