With the surprise twin promotions of Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters yesterday, you can imagine that the info mill was working double time on quotes and relevant bits. Your hopefully useful collection …
- Though he described himself as a “zombie” on the way to the park (they played late the night before), Vitters was clearly excited to arrive. “It seems like half the guys here are guys that started out in Iowa,” Vitters said. “I couldn’t think of a better situation to be in right now.” Vitters also said that the call-up was the payoff for a season of hard work. “I had a goal in my mind,” Vitters said. “I had a goal that I wanted to be here. I did everything I possibly could. I looked at myself as a player and I wanted to improve all of my weaker points and make them better and improve my strong points as well to make me a better all around player. I think the dedication paid off.”
- Jackson, duh, was also excited. “I’ve just been soaking it in,” said Jackson. “I was thrown into the game and was in game mode all day. I’m sure it will sink in more tonight. I caught myself laughing a couple times — ‘You’ve got to be kidding me right now.’ It’s a pretty indescribable feeling, inspiring. I look forward to the days and hopefully years to come.” Jackson added that he understand his strikeout levels have been a concern, and he plans to work on it. “I knew how close I was and I pushed myself a little too hard to be here,” Jackson said. “I’m here now, and I’m going to play my guts out and my heart out every day, that’s the type of player I am and that’s the type of player I’ll always be.”
- Dale Sveum told reporters that he expects Jackson to play 80 to 90% of the time, and obviously he’ll be playing in center field. Although it went unsaid, you can bet that the biggest playing time hit will go to Bryan LaHair, as David DeJesus slides back to right field. The Cubs will continue to shop Alfonso Soriano this month, which could open a spot back up for LaHair.
- Sveum wasn’t as eager to commit to Vitters playing every day, or even regularly. Instead, he said that there would be a “mix and match” situation with lefty-hitting Luis Valbuena. Sveum said Vitters would face some right-handed pitchers, though, so I don’t think we’re looking at a strict platoon situation (which would be insane – why would you call up 22-year-old Vitters, who hasn’t yet had a full season at AAA, just so he could sit four out of five games? That not only doesn’t help his development, it doesn’t help the Cubs evaluate his readiness to take over full-time in 2013).
- To that point, GM Jed Hoyer isn’t concerned with the further development of Jackson and Vitters being an issue with these promotions. “I think it’ll be a good experience for both of these guys,” Hoyer said. “They get a chance to come up and get a taste of the big leagues. They can help us win for sure and they also can figure out what they need to do up here to have success. If they have success, wonderful, and if they struggle a little bit, hopefully they’ll learn from those struggles and spend the offseason learning from those things. I don’t see a downside for either of those guys as far as their development goes in coming up here and experiencing what the big leagues is about.”
- Hoyer added a nice parable from his experience with Anthony Rizzo in San Diego. “We had that with Rizzo in San Diego,” Hoyer explained. “He came up and struggled and spent the whole winter working on [those] things and it’s obviously really helped him this time around.” We’ll have to keep that in mind if we see either or both of Jackson and Vitters scuffling this year.