Anthony Rizzo might be in the Cubs’ lineup within three weeks
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 20, 2012 9:00PM
Cubs first-base prospect Anthony Rizzo will make his highly anticipated debut for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Mets. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:44PM
Turn up the Anthony Rizzo buzz.
The minor-league slugger fans and media have been clamoring to see in the majors since spring training might be in the Cubs’ lineup within three weeks.
‘‘That’s definitely going to be talked about,’’ manager Dale Sveum said before the Cubs’ lackluster lineup was stifled for a third consecutive day in a 6-0 loss Sunday to the White Sox. ‘‘He’s really done everything he can down there. But once again, when you bring somebody like that up, he’s got to play every day.
‘‘That’s the million-dollar question: How do we get him that playing time?’’
That’s a discussion that has been going on in the organization for weeks, considering the Cubs’ lineup has sputtered for much of the first seven weeks. President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer recently traveled to see Rizzo play for Class AAA Iowa.
The one certainty is that Rizzo, a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, would push Bryan LaHair, who has been the Cubs’ top offensive producer this season, to another position. LaHair told the Sun-Times this month he’s comfortable and experienced enough in the outfield that he doesn’t consider that a position change.
Rizzo, whom the Cubs acquired from the San Diego Padres in a trade for right-hander Andrew Cashner in January, is hitting .353 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI in 40 games at Iowa. He has a 1.124 OPS.
‘‘It’s definitely something that we’re going to talk about, probably around the beginning of June or interleague play when we need the DH and those kinds of things,’’ said Sveum, who two weeks ago said the ‘‘logical’’ move would involve right fielder David DeJesus moving to center to open a corner outfield spot for LaHair.
The Cubs’ first interleague road series is June 8-10 in Minnesota. The only other series in which they will need a designated hitter is June 18-20 against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sveum made one thing clear before anybody suggests that Rizzo should play the outfield.
‘‘I think he’s a huge asset at first base,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘A left-handed first baseman, and he’s really, really good over there.
‘‘I don’t think we’d move him around at all.’’