Jason McLeod: Anthony Rizzo is close to being ready
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 30, 2012 11:10PM
Steve Clevenger of the Cubs holds up the ball after tagging Chase Headley of the Padres at home plate in the third inning at Wrigley Field Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:35AM
The guy in the Cubs’ organization who knows Anthony Rizzo best says the development of the most hyped Cubs prospect is almost done.
‘‘I think he’s in the finishing stages now, and it shouldn’t be too long until he’s up here,’’ said Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ top scouting and player development official who originally drafted Rizzo for Boston and was part of the San Diego front office that acquired him from the Red Sox.
Rizzo, who left Sunday’s game with a minor wrist injury, is fine and expected back in the Class AAA Iowa lineup Thursday, McLeod said.
As for the Rizzo hype gripping the North Side, ‘‘It’s déjà vu,’’ McLeod said, ‘‘Jed [ Hoyer] and I have been saying, because went through the same thing last year.’’
Rizzo, who’s expected to be recalled sometime in late June, is hitting .354 with 17 home runs. He had similar numbers at Class AAA last year before he struggled in a 49-game big-league debut with the Padres.
‘‘What I’m more happy about isn’t the numbers that he’s putting up; it’s the development that we talked about,’’ McLeod said. ‘‘He’s been working on some things mechanically, on his approach, on his day-to-day routine, and that’s what I’m really happy about for Anthony, that he’s got a routine that’s working.
‘‘And I think because he went through what he went through last year — the anticipation in San Diego and the struggles once he got up — it’s made him a better player mentally. I think it’s made him much stronger coming out of that.’’
With James Russell’s first career save Tuesday, Jeff and James Russell have the major-league record for most saves by a father-son tandem (187). Pedro Borbon Sr. and Pedro Borbon Jr. are second with 86. Only two other father-son pairs have two generations of major-league saves (Julio and Jaime Navarro, Steve and Jason Grilli).
◆ Playing in his first game since spending nearly a month on the DL, Steve Clevenger picked up where he left off, going 2-for-4 with a double to keep his season average at .500 (11-for-22, including six doubles).