Junior Lake is back in The Show.
The Cubs added another option to their bench before Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, promoting Lake from Triple-A Iowa, where he was hitting .289 with a .673 OPS in 13 games.
Lake can play all three outfield positions and originally started his career as an infielder, so he offers manager Joe Maddon some more versatility.
Lake debuted with the Cubs in 2013, hitting .284 with six homers, 16 doubles, four steals and a .760 OPS across 64 games. But he regressed last season, hitting just .211 with 110 strikeouts in 308 at-bats.
Lake is still only 25 and brings a nice blend of power and speed.
“I’m excited to have him here,” Maddon said at Wrigley Field. “Physically, he’s a really gifted guy. This is what you’re looking for as a scout.
“(We see him) primarily as an outfielder, but we’re not afraid to put him on the infield, too. He’ll take his groundballs there, also. We’ll utilize him wherever, just like we do with everybody else.
“He had a great spring training. The thing that I had heard about in the past was his (tendency) at the plate to not be as patient as you might like. And then all of a sudden, he was patient this spring coming off a really good winter-ball (experience).”
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To make room for Lake on the 25-man roster, the Cubs sent right-handed reliever Brian Schlitter down to Iowa. Schlitter, 29, posted a 9.53 ERA and 2.12 WHIP this season, allowing at least one run in four of his seven appearances.
Schlitter, who went to Maine South High School, was a solid piece in the Cubs bullpen last season, putting up a 4.15 ERA and finishing fourth on the team with 61 appearances.