05/30/12 3:15 PM ET
Cubs to start long road trip in San Francisco
By Cash Kruth and Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
On May 21, Chicago began a 21-day stretch in which it'll play 19 games in six cities, putting the Cubs on a Chicago-to-Houston-to-Pittsburgh-to-Chicago-to-San Francisco-to-Milwaukee-to-Minneapolis-to-Chicago break.
That's a lot of cities. And a lot of air miles: 6,770 in all.
"Obviously, [we] have a tough stretch," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said prior to Wednesday's series finale against the Padres. "It'd be nice to sweep the series and get another win under our belt before we go on a tough road trip."
The first stop on the 10-game trip is the Bay Area, where the Cubs and Giants begin a four-game series Monday. The Giants entered Wednesday on a three-game winning streak.
"They've had some nice additions with [Angel] Pagan and Melky Cabrera. They've solidified their offense a little bit," Sveum said. "[Buster] Posey's healthy, so it's a little bit different offense than we saw a year ago. They still have the good pitching -- I know [Tim] Lincecum's struggling, but we're going to miss him anyway -- their bullpen's solid, they've got two quality left-handers out there. It's a quality team that's built for their ballpark, too."
Sveum continues to be impressed by Mather
CHICAGO -- All Joe Mather's done since Spring Training is impress Dale Sveum, and the Cubs manager plans to take advantage of Mather's hot bat for as long as he can.
Mather batted third in the Cubs' lineup for the eighth straight day in Wednesday's series finale against the Padres at Wrigley Field, as Sveum continues to add power to the lineup however he can.
Mather entered Wednesday with the second-highest slugging percentage on the team (.486) and knocked two doubles in Tuesday's win. He's produced a .320/.370/.440 slash line during the last eight games while splitting time at third base and in the outfield, getting the start Wednesday in center.
"Just going to see if he can spark the team now and do some things," Sveum said. "Since I've put him in there, he's pretty much had a quality at-bats, hit some balls really hard right at people."
As Mather has provided the Cubs with extra pop, speedster Tony Campana has been relegated to the bench. The 26-year-old center fielder has played well -- hitting .299 with 13 stolen bases in 32 games -- but hasn't started since May 21.
Sveum said Campana is simply the odd man out as the the Cubs search to add power to their lineup.
"I thought I'd put somebody in there that might juice the team with a home run, or a three-run homer or two-run double, something like that. Unfortunately for Camp, like I told him, he's just a victim," Sveum said. "If it were a complete powerhouse offense or something, he could play every day in center field. But we just need more slugging percentage out of [that] position."
McLeod pleased with Rizzo's progress
CHICAGO -- Jason McLeod has heard buzz about prospect Anthony Rizzo before. McLeod, now the senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Cubs, heard the same hype last year when Rizzo was in the Padres' Minor League system.
"It's deja vu, Jed [Hoyer, Cubs general manager] and I have been saying," McLeod said Wednesday. "What I'm more happy about is not the numbers he's putting up, but the development we talked about. He has been working on some things mechanically and his approach and his day-to-day routine, and that's what I'm most happy about for Anthony.
"He's got a routine that's working, he's been successful, and I think because of what he went through with the anticipation of San Diego and the struggles when he got up, it's made him a better player mentally," said McLeod who was San Diego's scouting director for the last two years and who drafted Rizzo in '07 when he was in Boston. "He's much stronger coming out of that."
Cubs fans are eagerly awaiting Rizzo's arrival.
"He's in his finishing stages now," McLeod said. "It shouldn't be too long before he's up here. I think he'll be a better player for going through that last year."
Rizzo, who was batting .354 with 17 homers and 12 doubles in 48 games with Triple-A Iowa, has not played since Sunday because of soreness in his right wrist. McLeod said he expected the first baseman to be back in Iowa's lineup either Wednesday or Thursday.
Wood introduces children's book
CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood shares lessons he's learned in life in a new book, "All You Can Be: Learning and Growing through Sports." Art students from Chicago Public Schools helped illustrate the book. Anyone can benefit from the valuable principles Wood learned, such as staying positive, working with teammates, and the importance of family, even if you don't want to be a Major League pitcher.
The book also has photos of Wood growing up and from his days with the Cubs. Published by Triumph Books, the list price is $16.95, and proceeds go to the Wood Family Foundation.
Wood, 34, retired on May 18 after 14 seasons. On Wednesday, Wood was at Wrigley Field to introduce the book and meet the artists who did the drawings. This is Wood's story, but MLB.com's Carrie Muskat did the writing.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.