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Clevenger continues to make his case

MIAMI -- Steve Clevenger continues to turn his part-time gig into a strong statement for more playing time.

To his credit, the young Chicago Cubs catcher isn’t openly pleading to see his name in the lineup more often, but the way he is playing speaks louder than words could.

Clevenger got his third start of the season in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Miami Marlins and made another impression on both offense and defense. His seventh-inning double and dive around the tag at home after Bryan LaHair's single got the Cubs even for an inning anyway.

He also caught his third consecutive solid outing as Ryan Dempster looked dominating, much like Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza had in previous Clevenger starts behind the plate.

Catching skills can still stay sharp after days on the bench, though. Clevenger is showing what he is made of by still delivering at the plate despite the sporadic playing time.

“He’s got what sometimes you call a slump-proof hack,” Sveum said. “It’s really simple. He uses his hands and doesn’t get too big. He understands velocity and what he has to do with it. He can just barrel the ball up and it jumps off his bat too.”

Geovany Soto still figures to get most of the playing time behind the plate as the everyday catcher, but Clevenger should keep getting his two days in the lineup, not to mention some late-inning pinch-hit chances.

Sveum even said Tuesday that he might even be willing to get Clevenger some time at first base, third base and even second base. Clevenger has already been a late-inning infield replacement in a game last series at St. Louis.