CHICAGO -- There wasn’t even the gift of a return to the starting lineup for Tony Campana on the occasion of his 26th birthday on Wednesday.
Campana, who hasn’t started since May 21, continued to wait for his chance off the bench as manager Dale Sveum elected last week to get a little more power and run production into the mix.
Starting on Friday at Pittsburgh, Starlin Castro was moved from the No. 3 spot to second in the Cubs’ lineup, where Campana had batted most of the season. Joe Mather has taken over the No. 3 spot and has played in either center field or third base.
But not even the days that Mather plays third can help left-handed hitting Campana get into the mix. When Mather does play third it has been because the opponent had a left-handed starter and the left-handed hitting third baseman Ian Stewart got a rest. The right-handed hitting Reed Johnson has been playing in center field on those days.
“I guess it’s all right,” Campana said. “Everybody wants to play but we had to make a change. You can see that we had to do something and Joe brings a little more thump and he’s been having really good at-bats so he gets his chance. I’ll just come off the bench, do what I do off the bench and try to bring some excitement.”
The Cubs were starved for runs during their recent 12-game losing streak. And even though Campana is adept at setting the table and stealing bases, the club just didn’t have enough people driving in runs. He had also cooled somewhat from his red-hot run when he was called up in April.
“It's just one of those things where (Campana) didn't do anything to lose his job,” Sveum said. “He was kind of more of a victim of doing a good job but the offense not scoring runs so I thought 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.”
Mather had a pair of hits Friday in his first start in the No. 3 spot since 2008. On Tuesday he had a pair of doubles with a run and a walk. His .483 slugging percentage this season is behind just one lineup regular: Bryan LaHair’s .596 mark.
“I'm going to ride it out as long as I can,” Sveum said. “As long as (Mather) is giving quality at-bats. Like I told him, we’re just going to see if he can spark the team somehow and do some things. Since I've put him in there he's pretty much had a quality at-bat every at-bat and hit some balls really hard right at people.”