SAN FRANCISCO Perhaps its just the backup quarterback syndrome, but Anthony Rizzo may never again be as popular as he is now.
Of course, Rizzos Q rating would soar if hes everything Cubs executives think he can be a foundation piece for a team thats playing annually in October.
But the 22-year-old first baseman is a blank canvas for Cubs fans and the Chicago media. Its hard to ignore the firestorm his sore right wrist created on Twitter.
Jason McLeod, the head of scouting and player development, described Rizzo as being in the finishing stages at Triple-A Iowa. His arrival is still weeks away, perhaps later this month.
That will mean uprooting Bryan LaHair, who entered Friday leading all National League first basemen in homers (10), and ranking second behind Joey Votto in OPS (.979).
And Alfonso Soriano, who has seven homers in his last 14 games, is anchored in left field, with almost 50 million left on his contract.
The day Rizzo comes here, hes going to play every day, manager Dale Sveum said. So whatever we do, who really knows? We keep beating (that) dead horse every day.
But theres nothing you can do about moving people around until Rizzo gets here. We dont know when thats going to happen. We all know how well hes doing.
The Cubs named Rizzo their minor league player of the month after he hit .326 (31-for-95) with 10 home runs and 23 RBI in 26 games in May.
LaHair has said that he would welcome another big left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup, and insisted that it wouldnt take long to get used to playing in the outfield again.
Those are bridges we have to cross, obviously, when it happens, Sveum said. I think you have to get some preparation out there before you just go out to left field. (But) Sorianos been one of our best hitters, so theres not a whole lot we can do if Rizzo comes here.
Sooner or later, the Cubs are going to have to make room for Rizzo, and see if he can live up to the hype.