The long-awaited arrival of Anthony Rizzo is here – again. Last year, San Diego caught Rizzo-mania as the team struggled to a slow start and was in need of a savior. This difference this year is that the Cubs and their fans understand Rizzo is not going to change the team’s fortune this year. With that in mind, the Cubs have called up the rookie first baseman.
Rizzo should be in uniform today with the Cubs. He was pulled out of the lineup of his Triple-A game for Iowa yesterday. This year, Rizzo has duplicated his Pacific Coast League performance of last year. In 2011, Rizzo hit .331/.404/.652 with 26 home runs. This year in Iowa, he hit .345/.408/.702 with 23 home runs.
The Cubs have shifted Bryan LaHair to right field for the most part to make room for Rizzo without having to deal the slugging 29-year old. With Rizzo, LaHair, and Castro it would seem the Cubs have the first three parts of their rebuilding process in place. All three look to be major contributors for years to come. However, Rizzo will have to prove he can hit Major League pitching.
Last season in 49 games, Rizzo hit .141/.281/.242 with one home run. He struggled adjusting to Petco Park’s size and the marine layer in San Diego. Yet, on the road, Rizzo still hit a meager .118/.247/.158.
Rizzo will be reunited with names like Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Epstein drafted Rizzo while with Boston. Rizzo eventually was traded to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. Jed Hoyer was GM of the Padres when San Diego shipped Rizzo to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner. Rizzo and Epstein, along with others from the old Red Sox regime, have a close relationship. When Rizzo was battling cancer, Epstein provided comfort and support. Rizzo should perform better in Chicago if for no other reason than he is comfortable.
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