Cubs turning Steve Clevenger into utility player
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com March 1, 2013 9:36PM
Manager Dale Sveum would like to have Steve Clevenger’s left-handed bat on the roster, so the catcher is being given a shot as an infielder. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:17AM
MESA, Ariz. — The uncertainty surrounding third baseman Ian Stewart’s status, as well as the generally fluid nature of the Cubs’ plans for the end of their roster, have put some players in odd-looking spots.
Such as catcher Steve Clevenger at first base, third base and even second base.
Manager Dale Sveum promised to get Clevenger as many looks as possible at different positions to have the option of taking the promising lefty hitter north as a utility player.
“I’m glad it seems that he’s trying to do something to help me try to make the team,” said Clevenger, who got off to an 11-for-22 start with five doubles and a walk as a rookie backup last April before suffering an oblique injury that hampered him the rest of the season.
“I feel comfortable playing the bases. I don’t feel out of whack playing the infield at all.”
Luis Valbuena, who started at shortstop Friday, already is assured of making the team as at least a bench player. He could be the Opening Day starter at third if Stewart (quad) doesn’t show enough when he returns from injury. Former White Sox utilityman Brent Lillibridge also appears to have an inside track for a spot on a roster that figures to be especially heavy on versatility.
Clevenger mostly played second base in his first year of professional ball. He also played first and occasionally third in the minors.
“Anytime you can play multiple positions, it helps the manager out,” said Clevenger, who also is willing to try the outfield for the first time since high school, though he breaks into a big grin when he says that.
“I mean, how hard is it to catch a fly ball?” he said.