TEMPE, Ariz. – The Cubs are being cautious with Mike Olt, a potential bounce-back player they believe could be a big part of their future.
Olt, who’s regarded as a plus defender at third base, has been dealing with a sore right shoulder. The Cubs used him as a designated hitter in Wednesday’s intrasquad scrimmage and Thursday’s Cactus League opener.
“He’s doing well,” manager Rick Renteria said Friday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. “He’s throwing fine and he’s been working at all the positions to get himself ready. We’re going to try to get him some at-bats and keep him active.”
Olt’s health will be a major storyline this spring. He’s the X-factor in a third-base platoon that now involves Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena.
Olt, 25, would have been untouchable in last summer’s Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers if he hadn’t been dealing with lingering concussion/vision problems. He says those issues are now in the past.
The Rangers honored Olt as their minor league player of the year in 2012 after he put up 28 homers, 82 RBI and a .977 OPS in 95 games at Double-A Frisco.
Blocked by All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre, Olt also saw some time at first base and in right field with the Rangers in 2012. The Cubs expect to see Olt at third base again soon.
“He’s coming along,” Renteria said. “We’ll give him as many looks as we possibly can.”