Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs rookie Scales keeps impressing as hitting streak reaches 6

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Bobby Scales spent more than 10 seasons and more than 1,000 games in the minor leagues before last week.

And in just nine days in the majors, he has become an overnight sensation for the Cubs as a 31-year-old rookie -- extending his six-for-six-game hitting streak with his first big-league homer Tuesday night, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning.

``What a nice story. The kid persevered, and he's enjoying the moment now,'' said manager Lou Piniella after watching Scales nearly sprint around the bases following his home run. ``Hopefully, it continues.''

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scales already has the longest Cub hitting streak to start a career since Rookie of the Year Jerome Walton had a seven-gamer in 1989.

Asked about making things look so easy after taking so long to get to the big leagues, Scales said, ``No, no, no, it ain't easy. This game will humble you. So I'm just trying to keep my head down and keep grinding and get my work in every day.''

And maybe even start feeling like he belongs in the majors after all these years.

``You always have that doubt,'' he said of his first experience in the big leagues. ``I've grinded my rear end off to get here, and then, yeah, it creeps into your mind -- `Do I belong here?'

``But once you figure out that it's the same game and if you can slow it down -- my process isn't over yet. I've got like 10 at-bats here. I'm still just trying to slow the thing down and be as calm as I can b so I can do what I'm supposed to do.

``And you don't ever figure it out. I don't care how good you are. I'm still just trying to get through this thing and help this team win any way I can.''

So how about enjoying the home run moment a little longer than that 4.4 40 he seemed to be shooting for as he rounded the bases?

``Even in the minor leagues when I hit home runs, there's no point in showing anybody up,'' he said. ``You hit it. It went over the fence. So that's enough. So just hit all four bases and get off the field.''

It's no wonder Scales has fast become a favorite of teammates and may be on the way to becoming a fan favorite -- not to mention a part of the solution to some of the Cubs' infield depth issues.

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Why isn't Scales starting? The guy is a third basemen! I love Riot and Fontenot but they should be back at the positions they've played all season. If you've got a natural third basemen, THEN PLAY HIM! And he's a switch hitter!

This guy has payed his dues, and I hope he continues to produce and remains a Cub.He clearly can hit, but how good is his defense? I'm not panning here, just curious. The guy really hustles and seems to be a solid contributer off the field as well as on it.

I don't care where they play him, to be perfectly honest. The guy is a fantastic ballplayer, he's proven that. To have the success he's had, to be able to hang on for so long and keep living his dream, tells me that not only does he know the game, but he has the tenacity and patience to really succeed at the major league level. Why no one picked up on this before now is beyond me. Obviously, if the Cubs screw up and send him back down when Ramirez and Zambrano are healthy again, some other team will come along, snap him up, and he'll be an every-day starter at second base. He's simply a great ballplayer. And yes, mike, he's a much better fit at second base. He may have the fielding skills necessary for the hot corner, but he simply doesn't have the arm strength, and he's already been flashing a lot of leather the few times I've seen him play second. Leave Fontenot at third, play Theriot at short, put Scales at second, put either Lee or Hoffpauir at first, and that's one heck of an infield, one that should combine for at least as much offense as a lot of outfields out there, and defensively they're as good as anyone. And as far as when Ramirez gets back, in my opinion, that's a great problem to have, though I think Miles may be trade bait in the very near future, probably to help shore up the bullpen.

I am a sucker for this kind of story. Especially when it turns out to be a friendly, hardworking player! Bravo, and may you be able to give up your substitute teaching job.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on May 12, 2009 11:42 PM.

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