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Cubs notes: Sveum says Rizzo taking advantage of pitches

Published: Saturday, May 18, 2013 6:45 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo watches his double off New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey during the first inning Friday at Wrigley Field.

CHICAGO – Opposing pitchers aren’t winning many battles lately against Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo has not struck out in his last 39 at-bats, going 2 for 4 in Saturday’s 8-2 win against the Mets, which is the second-longest active streak in the majors trailing Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy. Rizzo’s last strikeout came May 7 during the sixth inning against the Cardinals. During that stretch Rizzo is hitting .341.

"He's just taking advantage of the pitches he gets,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He's not worrying about the pitch before … and that all comes with maturity, and obviously when you're confident, you're feeling good and a lot of good things like that happen.”

Rizzo hit his 10th home run of the season Saturday, which also was his fourth off a left-handed pitcher to match his total last season off lefties. He has thrived off left-handers this season posting a .327 average with five doubles and 10 RBIs in addition to the four homers.

“I think it was more of a mental thing,” Rizzo said. “When you struggle [as a lefty against lefties], they still have to throw the ball over the plate, just different arm slots. You have to adjust your eyes a little bit.”

Garza ready: Right-hander Matt Garza didn’t need much lobbying to convince the Cubs he was ready to join the rotation.

Garza (lat strain) will make his season debut and first start since July 21 on Tuesday at Pittsburgh.

"I'm excited and just happy that I don't have to rehab again,” Garza said. "This actually means something, and I can't wait. It's been 10 months in the making, so I'm excited to get back out there."

Although Garza said he hopes there will not be any pitch count restrictions, Sveum said they will likely limit him to 85-90 pitches against the Pirates. In his final rehab outing Thursday at Triple-A Iowa, Garza allowed two hits in six scoreless innings.

“We've slowed it up a little bit and he did everything and then his final one was as good as it could be, so it was just time to get him back,” Sveum said.

Feldman shows off bat: Cubs starting pitcher Scott Feldman helped himself pick up his fourth win of the season thanks to timely hitting.

Feldman’s two-out, two-run double in the fourth gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. He has tallied a hit and RBI in three of his last four starts and leads Cubs pitchers with two doubles and four RBIs. Cubs pitchers are hitting .294 with five doubles, a home run, six runs and nine RBIs in May.

“Got to two strikes, tried to shorten up and tried to at least put the ball in play,” Feldman said. “Somehow, I don't know, I got the barrel on it and it fell for a hit.”

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