Cubs might bring Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters up earlier than expected
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org August 1, 2012 9:48PM
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:25PM
With the trade deadline behind them and the rest of the season devoted to evaluations and weeding out, the Cubs are talking about getting pre-September looks at some of their top prospects, including outfielder Brett Jackson.
‘‘It’s something worth thinking about,’’ manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday before the Cubs’ 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. ‘‘It’s something we’re really dwelling over right now, as to what we’re going to do in the next month before the September call-ups.’’
The field staff and front office planned to talk late Wednesday and into the day Thursday about roster changes that could come as soon as the West Coast trip that opens Friday in Los Angeles. If guys such as Jackson or third baseman Josh Vitters are to get regular playing time, it could involve changes involving Luis Valbuena or Bryan LaHair and/or a trade of Alfonso Soriano.
Jackson, who seemed to impress Sveum even more than Anthony Rizzo did in spring training, has a decent on-base percentage, 47 extra-base hits, 25 stolen bases and has played well in the outfield.
He also entered Wednesday tied with Adam Dunn for the most strikeouts in pro baseball this year (152).
‘‘That’s something we continue to address with him,’’ Cubs president Theo Epstein said.
As a comparison point, Sveum mentioned Hanley Ramirez, who was good but not spectacular in the Boston Red Sox system before a trade to Florida, where he immediately became a Rookie of the Year and star big-leaguer.
‘‘Sometimes players get to the big leagues and they hit better. You can’t even explain it that much,’’ Sveum said.
Vitters has been increasingly productive at the plate at Class AAA Iowa but has 22 errors in 227 chances at third this year.
NOTES: Second baseman Darwin Barney said he was fine Wednesday after leaving the game Tuesday after being struck in the helmet by a pitch. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup Friday.
◆ Reliever Alberto Cabrera made his major-league debut a few hours after getting called up from Iowa, retiring all three batters he faced, including two strikeouts, after entering in the eighth with two on and five already in.
◆ Chris Volstad also was recalled from Class AAA, taking the roster spot of Casey Coleman, who was optioned to AAA after one start (a 5-0 loss Tuesday).