As Cubs go young, DeJesus plays key role

CHICAGO -- Brought in this winter because of his hard and consistent play, David DeJesus has delivered that and a whole lot more to the Chicago Cubs.

With the season winding down and 100 losses a possibility, DeJesus still refuses to take it easy and manager Dale Sveum is hoping his locker room full of young players see the example the veteran is setting.

It wasn’t hard to see Saturday as DeJesus crushed a third-inning home run to right field that bounced out of Wrigley Field and onto Waveland Ave. For good measure, he also added a sliding catch up against the padded wall in foul territory in right field two innings later.

“He’s a great example,” Sveum said. “He was a great signing during the winter and I’m glad we’re going to have him back another year. He’s the ultimate professional that leads by example and hopefully people do watch and ask him a lot of questions because he does a lot of things well.”

Being a good example is added bonus to DeJesus’ quest to being a solid baseball player. But in order to become the player he wants to be he follows a strict work regimen and gives an honest day’s work every game.

“That’s the part of the game of being professional,” DeJesus said. “That’s my job to go out there no matter win or loss the previous game. The next game is a fresh game that we can win. I think as an older guy it’s important to show that I’m going to give 100 percent every game and hopefully they do too.”

The young guys that can learn from DeJesus are all over the locker room, but the one that can possibly learn the most from him plays right along side of him in the outfield. Brett Jackson might have more raw ability than DeJesus, but to reach his potential, it wouldn’t hurt to employ DeJesus’ work ethic.

“I want to be the guy they see working hard every day and putting the time in on and off the field and gives 100 percent on the field,” DeJesus said. “That’s ultimately all I care about in this game is being a guy that you can rely on every day.”

But even the hardest of work can’t take you all the way there. DeJesus said it’s important to have a little luck as well.

Case in point was his sliding catch into foul territory in the fifth inning on a ball hit by the Giants’ Buster Posey. Without a lot of foul-territory to work with, DeJesus ran as far as he could before going into slide in order to not crash into the wall. From there it was a matter of sticking out his glove.

“I didn’t even know I caught it to be honest with you,” DeJesus said. “I just slid, threw my glove out and I was lifting my glove and didn’t expect the ball to be in there. I looked up and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really in here. This is pretty cool.’”