Veteran David DeJesus prepared to mentor Cubs youth
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com September 1, 2012 8:20PM
Right fielder David DeJesus rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the third inning. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:31AM
September can be the cruelest month for a veteran player on a rebuilding team.
Or it can be what Cubs right fielder David DeJesus hopes to make it.
‘‘I want to be the guy the young players see working hard every day and giving 100 percent,’’ he said Saturday. ‘‘Ultimately, that’s what I want to be as a ballplayer.’’
He already is that in the eyes of manager Dale Sveum and the front office, which signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract in November.
‘‘He’s a great example,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He was a great sign, and I’m glad we’ll have him back another year.’’
DeJesus’ two-run homer in the third inning accounted for the Cubs’ only runs in a 5-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants and former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (8-14). The homer, his seventh this season, was only half of the highlights DeJesus provided.
His running, sliding catch of Buster Posey’s sinking fly in the fifth inning had just as much flare.
‘‘I didn’t know I caught it,’’ DeJesus said. ‘‘I didn’t expect the ball to be in my glove. I just wanted to slide because you don’t want to crash into walls.’’
His defensive and baserunning skills have been his calling card in almost 10 seasons. Before signing with the Cubs, DeJesus spent eight years with the Kansas City Royals and one with the Oakland Athletics.
After hitting only .224 in June, DeJesus has made offense a priority.
It has paid off as he hit .269 in July and .266 in August, including a stretch when he reached base safely in 11 straight games and batted .400 (10-for-25).
He also has homered in four of his last 15 games with 13 RBI, and he ranks third in the National League with a .370 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot.
‘‘He’s the ultimate pro who leads by example and does things well,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He has been one of the most consistent players with the bat and defensively. I hope [young players] ask him a lot of questions.’’
There will be plenty to learn in the closing days of the season as the Cubs face most of the NL contenders.
Starting pitcher Justin Germano (2-5) had another rough outing in his third straight loss. The damage was done in the first when the Giants scored four runs with two outs. Germano didn’t help himself walking Hunter Pence to load the bases and then hitting Hector Sanchez with a pitch before a bases-clearing double by Xavier Nady. Incidentally, Nady was Germano’s onetime roommate in the San Diego Padres organization.
‘‘He’s a good hitter,’’ Germano said. ‘‘He can hurt you with the long ball or drive it in the gap.’’
Germano lasted five innings, and relievers Michael Bowden (22/3 innings), Jeff Beliveau (1/3 inning) and Manny Corpas (1 inning) held the Giants without a run.