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posted: 4/24/2012 10:26 PM

Cubs' night games provide chance for extra reps

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  • The Cubs' Tony Campana can't make the catch on a 2-run home run by St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday during the eighth inning of their game Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

      The Cubs' Tony Campana can't make the catch on a 2-run home run by St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday during the eighth inning of their game Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

The dry-erase board in the Cubs clubhouse spelled it out: "Extra work 3; outfielders 3:30, flyballs."

One of the reasons Cubs managers have liked night games at Wrigley Field, even if there are relatively few of them, is that it gives the team a chance to work on fundamentals several hours before a game.

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On Monday, it was pitchers fielding practice, or PFP, as it's known. Tuesday, hitters came out for early batting practice, and then the outfielders did their thing, with coach Dave McKay launching flyballs from a machine.

"As I said going into spring training, we play so many day games, some of the work gets lost," said manager Dale Sveum. "When we do have the advantage of the night games and the weather is halfway decent, you take advantage of things we need to work on, just small things, whether it's hitting groundballs.

"Yesterday we did PFPs. Today flyballs. We're going to try to do something all the time with night games. We're always going to try to do something to keep up on all the fundamentals."

No rush, no worries:

Center-field prospect Brett Jackson told the Des Moines Register he isn't worried about when he'll be called up to the big club. When the Cubs traded Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox last Saturday, they called up Tony Campana.

"I can only control what I can control," Jackson told the paper. "I'm not pressing myself. I'm not rushing myself. I'm still 23 years old."

After Tuesday's loss by Iowa, Jackson has a hitting line of .244/.341/.449 with 2 homers, 8 RBI, 11 walks and 23 strikeouts in 78 at-bats.

"I haven't really felt great at the plate until maybe the last week," Jackson told the Register. "I don't look at my numbers at the start of the season and start freaking about out about it. I'm hitting around .250 right now, but I know I'm a better hitter, and I know I'm not a strikeout guy."

Lineup maneuvers:

Tony Campana started in center field Tuesday. He is in a rotation with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather. The significant change was that second baseman Darwin Barney was dropped from the No. 2 spot in the order to seventh to accommodate Campana and his speed.

"We have speed," Sveum said. "And Barney's put together a pretty nice season so far as far quality at-bats, one after another. I know he's not this prolific RBI guy, but it gives us a spot in the order down there where we've had a little bit of trouble, and he's going to give you a quality at-bat when somebody's on base, maybe work a walk and get a big hit like he did in Florida (bases-loaded triple)."

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