Rizzo won’t miss hitting second in Cubs’ lineup
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 26, 2013 10:48PM
Updated: August 27, 2013 12:14AM
LOS ANGELES — He’s back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, but he’s no Superman. Not even with more home runs than anybody else in the ballpark Monday night. Not even in Hollywood.
But Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo insists he’s no Clark Kent, either.
“I expect myself to be [Superman],” the young slugger said. “When the time is there, I think I’ll be where I need to be.”
He was just happy to be in his accustomed spot in the order after five games in the second spot.
Rizzo, who was slumping badly, was moved up a spot to provide a change of scenery. Manager Dale Sveum said he liked Rizzo’s swings and at-bats over the weekend and felt it was time to move him back.
“Who knows if that stuff ever works,” Sveum said. “Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.”
“It really didn’t in my opinion,” said Rizzo, who attributed an uptick over the weekend to the law of averages. “I was uncomfortable in the 2-hole. Hopefully, I’ll never go back.”
“I think it’s more an ego thing, to be honest,” he said. “I never hit second in my life. To me, your second hitter is someone who gets guys over, bunts, slaps and what-not. I think our lineup doesn’t call for me hitting second, personally.
“You see [Carlos] Beltran hitting second [for the Cardinals]; that’s because he has nowhere else to hit [in that formidable lineup]. They don’t want to hit him seventh or eighth. I tried to make the best of it.”
For all of Rizzo’s struggles this year, he enters the series with more home runs (20) than Dodgers All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has 17 and once was traded for Rizzo. And he’s not too far off Gonzalez’s RBI pace (81-69).
Despite their historical link —Red Sox GM Theo Epstein traded Rizzo to GM Jed Hoyer’s Padres for Gonzalez after the 2010 season —Rizzo said he only occasionally follows Gonzalez’s progress.
Even as Rizzo’s career seemed to be on a rocket path from Class AAA through the end of the Cubs’ big-league season last year, when Gonzalez was struggling much of the time.
“It’s not like last year wasn’t a good year, just not an Adrian Gonzalez-type year,” Rizzo said. “You can’t expect everyone to be Superman every day.”