08/30/12 2:13 PM ET
Slumping Vitters may see less playing time
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Luis Valbuena started at third base on Thursday, and may be getting more playing time in the final month than Vitters, who was the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick in 2007. Vitters, 23, was batting .093 (5-for-54) with 19 strikeouts, and hitless in his last four games.
"I'll still mix and match," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Thursday. "You might see Valbuena in there a little bit more. We're just giving Vitters some time to kick back here now and see what happens. You're trying to evaluate, but you're trying to win ballgames at the same time. We're having trouble scoring runs, period, so the at-bats -- Valbuena is getting on base, he's swinging the bat well, playing good defense."
Sveum admitted it's a change from earlier.
"I have shifted gears a little that way, because we're not getting anything out of that position," Sveum said. "A guy who hasn't struck out much is striking out quite a bit and not making contact. We're just going to evaluate and keep plugging along to determine what do we have and moving forward and evaluating these guys in situations that hopefully they're going to succeed."
Vitters is getting extra time in the cage with hitting coach James Rowson.
"I can hit at the Major League level now," Vitters said. "There's always adjustments that need to be made. I'm working on making strides to be where I need to be next year."
Part of that is developing a game plan every at-bat and sticking to it, plus trusting himself. He was batting .304 at Triple-A when called up on Aug. 5, but said he wasn't consistent. His splits at Iowa: .261 in April, .284 in May, .324 in June, .301 in July. His strikeout numbers did increase -- he went from 10 in 20 games in April to 29 in 27 games in July.
"It's the same story now," Vitters said. "I'm hoping the hot part comes or I can find a way to be more even through the whole season."
Valbuena happy to be assigned error
CHICAGO -- In the seventh inning on Wednesday, Darwin Barney nearly lost his bid for a National League record for consecutive errorless games. After a review, Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena was charged with the error, and he is OK with that.
"I feel good they gave it to me," Valbuena said Thursday.
With the Brewer leading 2-1 with two outs in the seventh, Jean Segura stole second and moved up on a throwing error by catcher Welington Castillo. Barney retrieved the ball in shallow center and threw to third, trying to get Segura. The throw was low, but hit Valbuena's glove. Segura scored, and official scorer Bob Rosenberg originally charged Barney with an error.
But after reviewing the play, Rosenberg changed his call, and switched the error to Valbuena. Barney's record streak was intact.
"It was an easy play," Valbuena said Thursday. "I have to catch that ball. I felt so bad."
Valbuena apologized to Barney after the game.
"I said, 'I'm sorry about that,'" Valbuena said. "I saw the ball and I missed it. It was a good throw."
Barney, who has now played in an NL-record 114 error-free games, originally thought he was charged with the error. He appreciated Valbuena's gesture.
"With a guy like him, you can't be happy he got the error," Barney said. "He's a really good teammate."
Cubs won't have many September callups
CHICAGO -- The Cubs won't add too many players when rosters expand on Saturday. Most of the players they want to see, such as Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, are already with the big league team.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he has talked to general manager Jed Hoyer about players to be called up once the Minor League season ends.
"It's not going to be a great amount of people, that's for sure," Sveum said. "You'll call some pitchers up to take some pressure off the bullpen and starters, so that always helps. There are a few position players who have already been here."
That list would include outfielder Tony Campana and infielder Adrian Cardenas, who are expected to be recalled.
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.