PHOENIX -- For most minor leaguers, a midseason call-up is akin to getting thrown into the fire.
Anthony Rizzo is going through more of a slow marination.
Although he passed a key service-time threshold on Saturday, the highly touted Chicago Cubs prospect continues to wait for his promotion to the big leagues from Triple-A Iowa. Rizzo has now played in the minors long enough for Chicago to keep him under team control through 2018, but he won’t be called up this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cubs won't name a specific date.
Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney knows Rizzo has seen the news of his impending call-up, but doesn’t believe it will distract him from continuing to mash at Triple-A.
“You’re a ballplayer, and it comes with the territory,” Barney said. “You’re reading and looking at all kinds of stuff your whole career, whether it’s my numbers, where do I stand, what are people saying? It’s all a part of it. Being around him in the spring, he’s mature and confident in his abilities. I’m sure he’s just down there getting ready for it.”
Rizzo finished a home run short of the cycle on Friday and is hitting .355 this year with 23 homers, 62 RBIs and a 1.138 OPS. He was the main topic of conversation in manager Dale Sveum’s pregame media session, and Sveum also seems anxious to see what Rizzo can do.
“It would be nice to have some extra firepower in the lineup on an everyday basis,” Sveum said.
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was called up from Double-A in late July of last year, but it was a different set of circumstances. He was the fifth first baseman on the organizational depth chart heading into the season and didn’t expect to be a big leaguer.
“I had no idea,” Goldschmidt said. “We made a trade, and the next day I was coming up. I didn’t think it was going to happen, and it wasn’t even something I wanted to think about.”
Goldschmidt said he made a conscious decision to avoid reading the constant speculation.
“That kind of stuff is out of your control,” he said. “I’m sure it’s the same stuff that’s going through his head. If the idea crept in my head, I’d get it out as fast as possible because it’s not going to do you any good thinking about it.”
When Rizzo does get the call, it will be his second stint in the majors after playing 49 games for the San Diego Padres last year.
“If it was his first time coming to the big leagues, that’s a little bit different,” Barney said. “That usually comes out of nowhere. He knows he has a job to do.”