CHICAGO -- After playing exclusively in the outfield since being called up to the major leagues after the All-Star break, could Junior Lake be on the move back to the infield?
Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t dismiss the notion after his team’s 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, in which current third baseman Cody Ransom went 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .199.
“We don’t have many options,” Sveum said after the Cubs were shut out for a second consecutive game. "We’ll talk about it and see what’s going on.”
The irony is Lake played third base throughout his minor league career, including 36 games there at Triple-A this season. But with the drafting of Kris Bryant in June and the trade of Mike Olt from Texas in July, it could be a crowded position in the coming years. However, Olt is struggling at Triple-A, so he didn’t get a recall when Luis Valbuena went on the disabled list with an oblique strain. It’s why Ransom has been starting -- and he’s been struggling.
“It was tough,” Ransom said of his week. “It sucked. I had a couple really bad games early, better last couple, but no results.”
Ransom was 2-for-21 on the homestand, but his struggles predate the Cubs' return from their last road trip. He had a chance to break out of it on Sunday with two on and none out in the sixth with the Cubs trailing 1-0. He struck out after an eight-pitch at-bat.
“[Dodgers pitcher Stephen Fife] Threw a cutter away and it ran up and in,” Ransom said of the final pitch. “It didn’t do its job, but it did its job. It was what it was.”
With regular second baseman Darwin Barney hovering near the .200 mark and Ransom now below .200, the Cubs need to address their offense, especially with Alfonso Soriano gone. The options might be limited, but the unknown is better than the known right now -- and Ransom isn’t part of the future anyway.
Watkins' debut: Second baseman Logan Watkins singled in his third career at-bat but never got a ground ball in the field.
“I saw a lot of pitches that at-bat,” he said. “Was just trying to fight it off and, fortunately, got it over his head.”
“I wish I could have gotten a ground ball, but it was [a] fun game to be a part of for my first,” Watkins said.