Chris Coghlan quietly making a case for himself
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 6, 2014 10:37PM
Updated: August 17, 2014 10:02PM
DENVER — With most of the attention focused on Next Big Things Javy Baez and Arismendy Alcantara these days, the one guy on the roster who actually has been a Rookie of the Year quietly has outperformed everyone.
In fact, Chris Coghlan could be playing himself into a place in the Cubs’ rebuilding future alongside Baez and Alcantara.
“He comes in every day trying to show everybody he belongs here,” manager Rick Renteria said after Coghlan reached base four times from the leadoff spot, a rare highlight in a 13-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
“He’s a former Rookie of the Year who is trying to put himself back on the map in many ways. One, he’s trying to be part of what we are doing as an organization, and he’s going out on a daily basis just trying to show the world he belongs here and can help this ballclub.”
The National League’s 2009 Rookie of the Year for the Marlins, Coghlan has struggled to regain his form since a serious knee injury late in the 2010 season.
Joining the Cubs as a minor-league free agent last winter, Coghlan has hit .302 with an .880 OPS since a May 3 call-up from Class AAA Iowa and has found another gear with regular playing time over the last seven weeks.
He missed the cycle by a home run, and it was his sixth straight start with at least two hits.
“Anytime you can go out there pretty much every day, it just gives you an opportunity to produce,” said Coghlan, 29, who briefly thought last month he might be traded but has since been asked more often about sticking as part of the Cubs’ competitive future.
“That’s totally up to those guys [in the front office],” the arbitration-eligible outfielder said. “I have no idea what they’re thinking. I just focus on what I can do on the field.”
NOTES: De facto ace Jake Arrieta (6-3, 2.80 ERA) had his streak of 10 consecutive quality starts snapped when he blew two leads and was eventually knocked from the game when he allowed seven consecutive hits to start the sixth inning.
◆ Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, the $9.5 million Japanese veteran, returned from Tommy John surgery after 14 months and pitched out of the sixth inning in relief of Arrieta.
◆ To make room on the roster for Fujikawa, popular outfielder Nate Schierholtz (.192, six homers) was designated for assignment.