Anthony Rizzo made his major league debut last year as a member of the Padres and belted his first career home run in a June 11 loss to the Nationals.
Now he’s on the board with his new team, the Cubs.
The 22-year-old first baseman smoked a two-run blast over the right field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday, plating Starlin Castro and pushing the Cubs to a 3-2 lead over the Astros.
It’s a lead they would not relinquish, giving Rizzo his second game-winning hit in four games since arriving at Wrigley Field last Tuesday night. “It just feels good to get that win and get that monkey off my back hitting a home run and this and that,” he told JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com after the victory.
Rizzo is now 4-for-15 with two doubles, a dinger and three RBI — good for a .267/.313/.600 slash line.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.