Bryan LaHair puts best foot forward in Cubs’ outfield
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Twitter: @GDubCub June 20, 2012 4:30PM
Updated: June 20, 2012 4:36PM
Bryan LaHair said he feels comfortable in right field, welcomes the imminent addition to the lineup of Anthony Rizzo at first base and expects to get his outfield legs under him fairly quickly.
But one of the best reasons for optimism in him making the move at this point in the season—other than the nice running catch Monday night—is that the painful nerve issue in his right foot is almost gone.
``My foot’s doing a lot better,’’ said LaHair, who’s dealt with the issue since the end of spring training - with the nerve that runs the length of the back of his leg originally flaring in pain from the back down, before subsiding week-by-week until leaving only pain in the foot.
``It’s feeling pretty good,’’ he said. ``I pumped up on some of the meds to get it moving faster. The nerve has really calmed down. I haven’t been taking the medicine every day now. I’m trying to back off as much as possible. But I notice after about two or three days when I don’t take it that - it’s not painful, but I feel like it’s coming. So before I go to bed, I take some of the medicine again and it’s right back [to being better].’’
LaHair, who’s tied with Alfonso Soriano for the Cubs’ home run lead at 13, has played first base all year until Monday. And he’ll probably be in the outfield for nearly the rest of the way with Rizzo on the verge of a callup.
But LaHair has said for months that he doesn’t consider that a position change.
``I’ve played so much in the outfield my whole life,’’ he said. ``Even in high school I was a center fielder. In college I played the corner outfield. I’ve got a lot of experience, and I’ve worked on a lot of fundamental drills growing up as a kid, so I’m pretty comfortable out there.
``I’m OK wherever they want me to go. Not a big deal for me.’’
Just one reason he would seem to have no reason to view Rizzo as a threat.
``I believe I can control what I can control,’’ LaHair said. ``He’s a great hitter, and he deserves to be here. Obviously, he’s putting up great numbers, and when it’s his time to be here, he’ll be here. And we’ll be pulling for each other.’’