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Cubs’ Nate Schierholtz isn’t playing for ticket out of town

Updated: July 29, 2013 11:20PM



Nate Schierholtz is in one of the best stretches of his career, hitting .357 on the Cubs’ just-concluded 10-game road trip and .278 overall this season with a career-high 14 home runs and
43 RBI.

That’s why he’s also facing the possibility of being with another team by Thursday.

‘‘It’s always a good thing to be in trade rumors,’’ he said of what success brings. ‘‘But I’m happy here and want to be part of the future. That’s why I came here.’’

Schierholtz, 29, signed a one-year contract with the Cubs but believes in the direction.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of good guys leave the team, but we’re still close,’’ he said. “We’re not going to give up. It’s what [manager] Dale [Sveum] has instilled in us.

‘‘I do [see hopeful signs]. I’ve said it since the first day I got here in spring training. It’s a great group of guys, and we have high expectations for ourselves. The more experience we get, the better we’re going to become. We’re not too far away from that.

‘‘Hopefully I’m here. You just focus on today’s game. That’s all we can control.’’

Fresh start

Jake Arrieta makes his Cubs debut in the second game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday. He has been at Class AAA Iowa since coming from Baltimore in the deal that sent pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger to the Orioles on July 2.

‘‘It was almost like a weight off my shoulders,’’ he said of being traded. ‘‘I felt like I was able to do a lot of good things over there, but there were some things that kept me from being able to do it on a consistent basis.’’

Arrieta was 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in five starts for the Orioles. He was 5-3 with a 4.41 ERA for their Class AAA affiliate in Norfolk. At Iowa, he was 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five starts.

August looking up

The Cubs have been active traders again this year, but the feeling heading into August and September is very different than it was last season.

‘‘Success has a lot to do with everything,’’ Sveum said of the team’s renewed optimism. ‘‘You don’t have to play or coach to know that winning helps, and for three months we’ve had a winning record, and that makes you want to keep working and grinding.

‘‘You definitely sense a lot more energy in the clubhouse. Winning cures a lot.’’

Unlike last year, when the final two months were a torturous journey without adequate pitching, this season has prospects stepping up.

‘‘The depth is everything,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘We went into this season saying if this would happen again [trading away veterans], we would be a lot more prepared. Now we have so much depth, we were able to trade a Guillermo Moscoso to the Giants — someone who was pitching pretty well at Triple-A.’’

Moscoso, 29, was sent to the Giants last weekend in a minor deal, with the Cubs getting a player to be named or cash. Moscoso was 7-5 with a 3.93 ERA at Iowa.

Sveum points to the success pitcher Chris Rusin has had in making two starts since Matt Garza was traded, and Junior Lake’s strong showing since arriving and replacing Alfonso Soriano.

Relievers Pedro Strop and Matt Guerrier, acquired from the Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively, for pitchers Feldman and Carlos Marmol, also have fit into the bullpen successfully, Sveum said.



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