By Jose M. Romero
PHOENIX The highly anticipated callup of Cubs top prospect Anthony Rizzo wont happen in the next few days, and not in Arizona, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before Fridays game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Sveum wouldnt give any kind of timetable on the arrival of Rizzo, who is raking down at Class AAA Iowa, batting .350 with 23 home runs, 17 doubles and 59 RBI.
Asked if Rizzo, a first baseman, could be in pinstripes during the next homestand, which starts Monday, Sveum remained non-committal.
I dont know if theres a date on it, Sveum said. Its obvious hes coming soon but we dont have a date yet.
The Cubs are already making adjustments in their lineup in preparation for Rizzos grand arrival. First baseman-turned right fielder Bryan LaHair was out of the starting lineup in favor of Reed Johnson, as the Cubs were facing a left-hander in the Diamondbacks Joe Saunders. Joe Mather got the call in center field, though that spot is now the property of David DeJesus, who moved over from right field in another accommodating move to make way for Rizzo.
The Cubs appear to be going against a frequent pattern to ease their best minor-league prospects into the majors by bringing them up while the team is away from Wrigley Field.
SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.
Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.
Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.
Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.
It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.
It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.