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

Rizzo close to joining Cubs?

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Turn up the Anthony Rizzo buzz.

The minor-league slugger fans and media have clamored to see in the majors since spring training could be in the Cubs' lineup within the next three weeks.

``That's definitely going to be talked about,'' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday morning. ``He's really done everything he can down there. But once again, when you bring somebody like that up, he's got to play every day.

``That's the million-dollar question: How do we get that playing time?''

That's a discussion that's already been going on internally in the organization for weeks -- as the Cubs' lineup has sputtered much of the first seven weeks of the season.

Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer both recently traveled to see Rizzo play for Iowa.

A Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, the one certainty is that Rizzo would push Bryan LaHair - the Cubs' top offensive producer this season - to another position.

LaHair told the Sun-Times earlier this month that he's comfortable and experienced enough in the outfield that ``I don't consider that a position change.''

Rizzo, who was acquired by the Cubs from San Diego for Andrew Cashner in January, is hitting .353 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs in 40 games at AAA Iowa - and a 1.124 OPS.

``It's definitely something that we're going to talk about, and probably around the beginning of June or interleague play when we need the DH and those kinds of things, too,'' said Sveum, who said two weeks ago the ``logical'' move would involve right-fielder David DeJesus going to center field to open a corner outfield spot for LaHair.

The Cubs' first road interleague series is June 8-10 in Minnesota, with their only other DH series of the season coming June 18-20 against the Sox.

And before anybody suggests something dumb like having Rizzo play the outfield: ``I think he's a huge asset at first base,'' Sveum said. ``A left-handed first baseman, and he's really, really good over there. I don't think we'd move him around at all.''

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Arbitration. We have been getting played since the start. Cheap prix.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on May 20, 2012 11:20 AM.

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