9/7/2013 3:55 P.M. ET
Red-hot Lake gets breather as Cubs shuffle outfielders
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Junior Lake leads all Major League rookies in hits since the All-Star break, but on Saturday, the Cubs outfielder began with the day off.
Lake, who hit his first grand slam on Friday, was not in the Cubs' starting lineup against the Brewers. It's part of manager Dale Sveum's effort to give the outfielders on the roster enough playing time.
Sveum did turn to Lake as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, and the rookie came through with an infield single. However, he was cut down trying to steal second on a close play at the bag.
In 45 games with the Cubs, Lake has 55 hits, including five home runs. Sveum said he could project the outfielder finishing with at least 15 home runs in a full season.
"He's got tremendous raw ability," Sveum said. "We've witnessed that since the All-Star break. The power is there. You're talking about doing things, and people still have to get the 700 plate appearances to project anything. He has the power and ability to obviously hit 15 home runs [in a single season]."
Lake also showed his versatility on Friday with a bunt single. According to STATS Inc., he was the second player this season to hit a grand slam and a bunt single in the same game. The Indians' Michael Bourn also did so July 24 against the Mariners.
Sveum endorses Barney for second Gold Glove Award
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Darwin Barney leads all National League second basemen in fielding percentage, which would make him the favorite to repeat as the NL Gold Glove Award winner at that position. Barney just hasn't gotten as much attention about his defensive play this year, because he isn't pursuing the Major League record for error-free games.
Last year, Barney tied the Major League single-season record with 141 consecutive errorless games at second and won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
"He hasn't done anything for anybody to take it away from him," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of his second baseman. "He's had a heck of a year defensively again. The way he turns a double play, tough double plays, he's the incumbent and somebody has to take it away from him. I don't see anybody doing that."
Barney leads NL second basemen with a .993 fielding percentage; the Twins' Brian Dozier and the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia lead the Majors with a .994 figure. Barney has been charged with four errors in 123 games, one more than he made in 155 games last season.
He's not flashy, but he will likely face competition from the Reds' Brandon Phillips, the Pirates' Neil Walker and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter.
"Sometimes people do things without having 'web gems' and that's why they're the best at their positions," Sveum said.
Barney was tied with the Braves' Dan Uggla for fifth in double plays (68) and was fourth in putouts entering Saturday's game.
"It's definitely a goal of mine every year to win a Gold Glove," Barney said. "I don't think it's my No. 1 goal. My No. 1 goal is to win 90, 95 games and make the playoffs.
"On a personal level, having the season I've had defensively this year, if I don't win the Gold Glove, I'd still be satisfied and feel I helped the team defensively. Leading the league in defense at second base is something I take pride in."
Barney is aware that there are players who make more acrobatic plays.
"The coaches and managers vote," Barney said. "They're players. They understand. I don't think they're going to vote someone in because they make 'web gems,' they'll vote someone in who deserves the award. If someone else wins, that person deserved the award among their peers, and that's fine with me.
"Last year with the [errorless] streak, there was a lot to be talked about. This year, it's one of those years where it's a normal year. There's no streak. It's been a good year and every error could be prevented, and I'll look back on the film on the ones I've made and not let them happen again."
• Scott Baker will make his first Major League start since Aug. 8, 2011, on Sunday when he takes the mound in the Cubs' series finale against the Brewers.
"He's built up pretty good," Sveum said of the right-hander, who has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012. "I'm not going to put a limit on [Sunday's game]. He's obviously not going to go over 100 pitches. We'll see how things go. We have plenty of guys in the bullpen. It's not a necessity to do anything but evaluate and let him pitch."
• Dae-Eun Rhee gave up five runs (two earned) on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in Double-A Tennessee's 7-1 loss to Birmingham in Game 2 of the Southern League playoffs on Friday. John Andreoli hit a RBI double. The Smokies trail, 2-0, in the series.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series will be Saturday. Eric Jokisch was scheduled to start.
Class A Daytona will face Charlotte on Saturday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in the second game of the Florida State League championship series. Friday's game was postponed because of rain. The Cubs lead the best-of-five series, 1-0. Ivan Pineyro was scheduled to start for Daytona.
Dillon Maples struck out seven over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Boise's 5-0 win over Vancouver in the first game of the Northwest League championship. The Hawks can clinch their seventh NWL pennant on Sunday with a win. Lance Rymel hit a solo home run and David Bote hit a two-run double.
• Ryan Sweeney will get a good look in September so the Cubs can gauge what to do next season with the outfielder.
"He's pretty savvy, he knows what's going on," Sveum said. "He's a quality left-handed bat, has the ability to hit home runs. You give him 500, 700 plate appearances that he's never gotten before, I think you could project that to be a pretty good year."
Sweeney missed time after injuring his ribs when he crashed into the outfield wall in Seattle.
"He's got an ability in center field to make things look easy," Sveum said. "You don't want to put anybody in a Jim Edmonds category, but he makes it look easy like Jim Edmonds did without a great deal of speed."
• Kevin Gregg picked up his 30th save on Friday. He is the 11th Cubs pitcher to reach that mark in a season and the first since Carlos Marmol had 34 in 2011.
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.