Cubs Notes: Lagging offense breaks out against Padres

Cubs Notes: Lagging offense breaks out against Padres
March 10, 2013, 6:15 pm
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MESA, Ariz. -- Entering Sunday, the Cubs had only scored 22 runs in their previous seven Cactus League games, but manager Dale Sveum isn't concerned about his team's offense.

"You ain't gonna know anything until you get all eight (regulars) out there and playing," Sveum said before Sunday's game against San Diego. "The other stuff is what it is. You got a lot of young kids, raw kids, they're not very patient at the plate, they're making quick outs. That's a concern for another day. But I'll be more concerned when I'm putting my regular eight guys out there and (Anthony) Rizzo's here and (Starlin) Castro's here before I start worrying about that."

The Cubs' offense came out of its shell Sunday, plating nine runs against San Diego at HoHoKam Stadium. Dioner Navarro, Jorge Soler and Christian Villanueva homered, while Alfonso Soriano added a two-run double in the team's first offensive outburst in over a week. The Cubs' nine runs were the most they've scored since the team's Cactus League opener Feb. 23.

Sveum has been without Rizzo (World Baseball Classic) for the last week and Castro since late February, so whatever concerns exist are about an incomplete product. Still, as Sveum put it, "It's not that easy to not get 10 hits in the Cactus League, and we haven't done it in quite a while."

That is, at least until Sunday -- the Cubs recorded 10 hits against San Diego.

The Cubs' lineup will begin to feature more regulars and major-leaguers in the coming days, with Opening Day three weeks from Monday. Castro will return to the lineup Wednesday, while Rizzo will return from the second round of the WBC in Miami no earlier than Thursday.

For Rizzo, he'll return to Cubs camp from a stretch of far more intense at-bats than he would've seen in Cactus League play. On Saturday, Rizzo said those ramped-up trips to the plate should help him when the season comes around, an assessment Sveum agreed with on Sunday.

"That's what I told him when he was talking to me about going was, you're going to be a part of something that'll be a playoff-type atmosphere when you're playing in games," Sveum said. "I think it's an experience you can't ever pass up. Any of those kind of experiences like that are always going to be beneficial for when you're in the season, in the playoffs or anything, you've gone through some intensity that you don't go through in regular season games or spring training, obviously."

Rizzo returns, if only for a few hours

Anthony Rizzo made a surprise appearance during Sunday's bunting tournament finals, sporting a blue Inter Milan jersey. The first baseman came to pick up a few things before leaving for Miami and to take a few swings in the cages with Cubs hitting coach James Rowson.

"It's been a lot of fun so far," Rizzo said. "I expected to be back in camp today, but that's the beauty of this game, on any given day any team can win."

Since joining Team Italy early last week for the WBC, Rizzo's adopted an Italian soccer club in Inter -- albeit, only since he got the jersey a few days ago -- but he has yet to pick up on the language.

"That's false," Rizzo said of reports he's learning Italian. "I know how to say hello and that's about it."

On the mound

Scott Feldman started for the Cubs Sunday and allowed two runs on four hits in three innings, while Travis Wood gave up one hit, walked three and struck out six in four shutout innings. Carlos Marmol added 1-2-3 inning as well.

Ex-Cub Andrew Cashner threw a scoreless inning in his Cactus League debut for San Diego. The right-hander cut a tendon in his thumb in a hunting-related accident in December.

DeJesus victorious in bunting tournament final

A late charge pushed outfielder David DeJesus past Nate the video guy (Nate Halm) in the Cubs' bunting tournament finals held Sunday. After beating Edwin Jackson in the semifinals, Halm jumped out to an early lead against DeJesus but couldn't hang on.

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