Ian Stewart won’t be a platoon player
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2012 8:58PM
Ian Stewart is hitting .223 for his career against left-handers and .240 against right-handers. | Getty Images
Updated: March 24, 2012 9:08AM
MESA, Ariz. — Despite some unfavorable splits against left-handers, newly acquired Ian Stewart is the Cubs’ every-day third baseman, manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday.
‘‘Ian Stewart’s going to play,’’ he said. ‘‘These things are all left up to them and how they’re doing at the time. But there is no platoon situation in mind at all for anybody right now.’’
That doesn’t mean Sveum won’t pick spots against certain lefties to sit Stewart, along with first baseman Bryan LaHair, especially with lefty-killer Jeff Baker at his disposal for either position.
The lefty-hitting Stewart has a career .223 average against left-handers (.091 in 2011), .240 against right-handers (.170). LaHair is .147 against lefties and .286 against righties (including all five of his home runs) in 195 career at-bats.
‘‘All that stuff is day-to-day,’’ Sveum said, ‘‘how they’re swinging at the time and what they’ve been doing against lefties or this kind of lefty.’’
With left-hander Sean Marshall traded to the Cincinnati Reds over the winter, Sveum said he plans to use Kerry Wood as his setup man for closer Carlos Marmol instead of seeking a left-right tandem.
‘‘Whatever they want me to do,’’ Wood said. ‘‘Whether it’s the seventh inning, eighth inning or fifth inning, go in there and get my guys out and get the ball to the next person.’’
Said Sveum: ‘‘Those last three outs are the biggest of the game. And the three leading up to that are even bigger.’’
Bullpen contender John Gaub (back spasms) is expected to return to at least light practice Thursday after missing the first few days.
◆ Bubble pitchers beware during fielding drills: ‘‘When it comes down to those decisions late in camp,’’ Sveum said, ‘‘you might take a guy that handles his position really well, fields his position, can throw over, can hold runners. If they’re evenly matched pitching-wise, then that’s what you have to go to.’’