Mike Olt struggling, but Renteria says Cubs haven’t lost faith in him
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter June 9, 2014 10:44PM
Updated: June 10, 2014 11:55PM
PITTSBURGH — He still leads National League rookies in home runs and RBI, but Mike Olt has only three other extra-base hits, leads NL rookies in strikeouts, doesn’t have a hit in two weeks and lost his starting third-base job.
Where does he go from here? Nowhere, said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who said Olt isn’t being considered for a minor-league demotion, even if it would mean regular at-bats.
‘‘Right now, he’s here with us,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He’s going to continue to develop his skills
here in the scenarios we allow him to take part in. He’s dealing with
all these little blows and bumps and bruises, and he’s going out
and continuing to be a big part of our club.’’
Olt, who’s second on the team with nine homers, is hitting .153 and has only a .372 slugging percentage despite the homers.
Renteria said he plans to pick his spots to get Olt occasional starts.
‘‘We want him to know he shouldn’t be too concerned about anything,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Things happen. You have hiccups. I know there was a time when he was doing very, very well. Everybody wanted him in there every single day, and so we started putting him in there.
‘‘Now we’re going to pull back a little bit. . . . At this point, he’s been playing great defense. He’s still the same kid. So we’re going to just continue to find the matchups that give him the best opportunity to have some success and gain some confidence and keep moving forward.’’
It took six days for the Cubs to look relevant and competitive by reeling off their best homestand
(5-1) in nearly two years and leaving Wrigley Field with a winning home record.
Then it took one day away from home for another look at the seasonlong reality that dropped their road record to the worst in the majors at 10-22.
‘‘I don’t know, man,’’ said shortstop Starlin Castro, who homered and had an RBI double in the Cubs’ 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. ‘‘We try to figure out what it is, but we haven’t figured it out yet.’’
Just another day in a season of Kris Bryant fantasies for Cubs fans.
No sooner had Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, been named Southern League player of the week for the third time this season than he had another multihit game that included his 22nd homer for Class AA Tennessee.
He leads all the Triple Crown categories in the Southern League but isn’t a candidate for a big-league promotion this season.
The Cubs were still nowhere to be found in the latest update of fan voting for the National League All-Star team. Right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel still appear to be the likeliest candidates for what might be a lone mandatory selection for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
† Outfielder Ryan Sweeney (hamstring) started a rehab assignment at Class A Kane County.