6/9/2014 11:25 P.M. ET
Olt confident he can snap out of latest slump
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Mike Olt is stuck in an 0-for-16 skid, but it's not that bad.
"I've had worse," the Cubs' rookie third baseman said Monday.
Olt was batting .153 for the season and hit nine home runs entering Monday's game against the Pirates. He's the first Cubs rookie with nine homers before June 1 since Geovany Soto had nine through May 2008. Soto won the National League Rookie of the Year that season.
"Things are starting to come around," Olt said. "All it takes is one thing to click, and next thing you know, you're 30 for the next 60. I feel good."
Luis Valbuena started at third base on Monday, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria has tried to put Olt in situations where he can have success.
"We want him to know he shouldn't be too concerned," Renteria said of the current skid. "Things happen and you have hiccups. I know there was a time when he was doing very, very well and everybody wanted him in there every single day and you give them a rope and allow them to go out and perform and let them feel the landscape and deal with the bumps and bruises.
"We still want him to be ready for us every single day," Renteria said. "It doesn't mean he's not going to get back to that opportunity. We'll try to find spots. We're going to keep moving all these guys and give them a chance to have success."
Are pitchers simply figuring out how to get the rookie out? Or is Olt not making adjustments? Renteria said it could be a combination of both.
"He's been playing great defense, he's still the same kid," Renteria said. "He's a guy who can put a good swing on the pitch and drive it easily out of the ballpark.
"He's got a smile on his face, he's coming out every single day and working hard."
It's just a matter of time, Olt said, before he finds that groove again.
"I've had stints where I feel like every at-bat I get a hit, and the next day, you wake up and something's not there and you're searching and you can't find it for a couple weeks," Olt said. "It's all a matter of snapping out of it and finding something that works."
First-round pick Schwarber may be nearing deal
PITTSBURGH -- Catcher Kyle Schwarber, selected fourth overall in the First-Year Player Draft, may be close to signing with the Cubs.
Schwarber tweeted on Sunday that he was "Chicago bound" and asked for recommendations on places to eat in the city. The Indiana catcher is most likely in Chicago for more than just a steak dinner.
The Cubs had an allotment of $4.6 million to spend on their first-round pick, but most likely came to an agreement with Schwarber on less. Some have estimated the catcher would sign for just over $3 million.
An announcement could come as early as this week.
This is the third straight year the Cubs have picked a position player in the first round of the Draft. Schwarber is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the top Division I catcher in the country. He batted .358 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .659 slugging percentage in his junior year. In his final eight games for the Hoosiers, he batted .469 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and a .938 slugging percentage.
Schwarber talked to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein last Thursday after the team picked him.
"I'm really embracing the moment, and that's what Theo told me to do was just embrace this moment, take your time and when the time's right, we'll call and take a day to sit down and talk about things," Schwarber said last Thursday.
Sweeney makes first rehab start in Class A
PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, on the disabled list since May 3 with a right hamstring strain, began a Minor League rehab assignment Monday with Class A Kane County.
Sweeney started in right field and went 0-for-2 with a walk in Kane County's 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids.
There's no timetable for Sweeney's return, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. The outfielder was 11-for-55 in 20 games before he was injured.
Sweeney had been rehabbing at the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz., before he joined the Kane County team.
"We'll just continue to monitor him for the next few days," Renteria said.
Bryant named Southern League player of the week
PITTSBURGH -- For the second straight week and third time this season, Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was named the Southern League player of the week.
Bryant, 22, batted .417 (10-for-24) last week with Double-A Tennessee with seven runs, three doubles, three home runs, five RBIs and six walks. He compiled a .533 on-base percentage and .917 slugging percentage in that stretch.
Bryant hit his 22nd home run on Monday, and leads the league in 10 categories, including the three Triple Crown statistics. He was batting .357 overall with 55 RBIs in 63 games. The second pick overall in last June's First-Year Player Draft, Bryant leads all Minor Leaguers in home runs, extra-base hits (40) and total bases.
Fans may be eager to see Bryant in the big leagues, but Cubs manager Rick Renteria said nobody's asked him about when that might be. Well, almost nobody.
"Where do I hear it? I hear it from you guys," Renteria said of the media. "I hear it more from you guys than anybody else.
"He's continued to develop his skills, continued to gain confidence, I'm sure, and hopefully it continues," Renteria said.
• The Cubs arrived here around 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, but got an early wake-up call Monday as the fire alarm went off in the team's hotel around 8 a.m. ET.
"I looked out the little hole in the door and saw someone running," reliever Pedro Strop said.
He got dressed, and rushed downstairs, where he found teammates Carlos Villanueva, Travis Wood and pitching coach Chris Bosio, among others.
Turns out there was no fire. The early wake-up call wasn't that bad, Villanueva said.
"I had breakfast and went back to sleep," Villanueva said.
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.