Interim hitting coach James Rowson not necessarily a goner
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com September 3, 2012 8:44PM
Tony Campana, Adam LaRoche
The facts: 6:05, CSN, 720-AM.
The starters: Chris Rusin (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (8-9, 3.53).
Updated: October 5, 2012 6:15AM
WASHINGTON — Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he expects in the final weeks of the season to start talking to upper management about next year’s plans for his coaching staff.
The notable decision figures to involve interim hitting coach James Rowson, who took over in June when Rudy Jaramillo was fired. Rowson, 35, was in his first season as the Cubs’ minor-league hitting coordinator before that.
Boston media have speculated for months that the Cubs will try to hire Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan.
‘‘I think [Rowson’s] done a good job,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I don’t think we judge anything like that on numbers or anything like that. But he’s got the right mentality, the work ethic, all that. He’s done a great job for stepping in in a tough situation.’’
After failing to replace run producers Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena in the offseason, the Cubs ranked among the worst teams in the majors in scoring, on-base percentage and slugging percentage and have gotten worse since a series of trades near the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
‘‘It’s a process, too, when you have young hitters,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘It’s the toughest job anyway when you have a big-time lineup and veterans. When you have a lot of young kids and stuff, it magnifies how tough that job is.’’
Has Brett Jackson done enough to already suggest he’ll be the Cubs’ Opening Day center fielder next year?
‘‘I’m not going to guarantee anything like that,’’ Sveum said, ‘‘but he’s shown enough that there’s a lot to work with, and [given] some adjustments, then there might be something pretty special.’’
Jackson, who leads professional baseball with 201 strikeouts, is certainly a major work in progress. His month-old career average in the big leagues dipped to .188 when he struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning Monday, giving him nearly three times as many strikeouts (43) as hits (16).
But without much foreseeable in-house competition and little promise of significant outside additions next winter, Jackson could have the inside track. Before going 0-for-11 with six strikeouts against the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals over the last four days, Jackson had a 7-for-19 (.368) week against the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers that included three homers, three doubles, eight walks and six RBI.
‘‘We all know watching the games that we have to make some pretty big adjustments this winter to handle this kind of pitching on a daily basis,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘And he knows that.’’
The Cubs expect to make their final four September roster additions Tuesday: left-hander Chris Rusin (who’s scheduled to start against Nationals), catcher Anthony Recker and right-handers Rafael Dolis and Jaye Chapman (acquired from the Atlanta Braves in Paul Maholm/Reed Johnson deal).