Cubs tweak lineup to no avail, fall to Giants again
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org June 2, 2012 11:34PM
David DeJesus, wearing a Cubs replica uniform from 1912, batted third. His fourth-inning home run was the only run the Cubs could manage. | jason O. Watson~Getty Images
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:12AM
SAN FRANCISCO — Very little seems to be changing for the Cubs these days.
The missed opportunities, the losing, just the overall bad play.
The makeup of the roster?
Now that’s a different story.
Whether it’s going with a new-look lineup with David DeJesus batting third in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park or making reclamation projects out of pitchers pulled from the scrap heap of other teams, the Cubs’ roster is the only part of the team that isn’t stagnant these days. The claim of Jairo Asencio off waivers from the Cleveland Indians on Friday is further proof of that.
There could be more changes on the way.
With the news that Cuban defector Jorge Soler was officially granted free-agent status, look for the Cubs to pursue the outfielder this week, despite manager Dale Sveum’s insistence that talk of Soler has been nonexistent since spring training.
“I haven’t heard anything probably since before spring training, all that talk,’’ Sveum said. “I heard [our front office] went and saw him, but there hasn’t been any talk about that in a couple of months. I haven’t even heard his name until [the latest news about his free agency].’’
Sveum did admit to watching film on him, saying that Soler was “pretty strong.’’
General Manager Jed Hoyer spoke about Soler back in the spring, denying that a four-year, $27 million deal was in place at that time. Considering that Soler wasn’t a free agent yet, Hoyer wasn’t exactly lying. Call it more like putting off the truth.
Soler isn’t the only player in the crosshairs for the Cubs this week, with the first round of the draft Monday and the Cubs preparing like an NFL team, minus the Wonderlic Test.
If Sveum had his way with that sixth overall pick, it’s pretty obvious which way he would want to go.
He’s excited about 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, considering Sveum raved about Correa for a second consecutive day Saturday.
“I don’t know if [the video on Soler] was as impressive as that kid [Correa] the other day.’’ Sveum said.
Sveum should know. When they brought Correa in to work out at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, it was Sveum who threw him batting practice.
“Carlos was pretty impressive to go to all three fields in a 20-mph wind in Wrigley Field in batting practice,’’ Sveum said. “Pretty impressive young man, that’s for sure.’’
Sveum even mentioned Correa in the same breath as Alex Rodriguez.
“You hate to say anything like that, but I played with A-Rod when he was 19, and it was kind of the same actions, the same body, power, it was impressive,’’ he said.
The good news for the Cubs is that three of the five teams picking in front of them seem to be heavily leaning toward a pitcher. But as much as Sveum was impressed by Correa, a projected third baseman, Theo Epstein and Hoyer might have their eye on outfielder Albert Amora or pitcher Max Fried.
What Sveum has immediate control of is the lineup. In the wake of a second straight loss, expect more tinkering to come, with Sveum expecting Ian Stewart back as a starter by Monday. Stewart was used as a pinch hitter Saturday, but he has been limited because of a sore left wrist.
As far as DeJesus in the No. 3 spot, he hit there with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. He could get a continued look there as DeJesus homered in his second at-bat and then walked and stole second in his third at-bat.
In the end, however, it was rinse and repeat for the Cubs.
“The same old thing,’’ Sveum added. “It’s unbelievable how we just have a tough time scoring against starting pitchers.’’