Anthony Rizzo joins a more exclusive (and painful) 30/30 club

CINCINNATI – Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo feels fortunate he’s stayed healthy while becoming the second player in history to hit 30 home runs and get hit by 30 pitches in the same season.

“It’s cool,” Rizzo said after the Cubs beat the Reds 4-1 on Tuesday night. “Second player ever … I’m very lucky, especially because I don’t wear any padding.”

Rizzo has moved closer to the plate over the last year or so, creating more chances to be hit. And pitchers have obliged. Reds starter Josh Smith nailed him in the first inning of Tuesday’s game, putting Rizzo in unique company as he and Don Baylor are the only two members of this 30/30 club.

“This one stung a little more,” Rizzo joked. “This one was top five.”

Rizzo is an MVP candidate in part because of his ability to get on base by whatever means necessary. He’s drawn 77 walks to go along with his 30 hit-by-pitches, producing a .388 on-base percentage that's good for fifth in the National League.

“I don’t dive into the plate much, so I know I can get out of the way and kind of brace for it,” he said.

With five games remaining Rizzo has no intentions of catching Baylor’s 35 hit-by-pitches achieved in 1986.

“Hopefully not,” he smiled.