The Cubs are hoping Anthony Rizzo is ready for the major leagues this time.
Chicago recalled the 22-year-old power-hitting first baseman from Triple-A Iowa and put him in the No. 3 spot in the batting order for his Cubs debut against the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
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"We felt today was the day," manager Dale Sveum said. "We hope he will be in the lineup for a long, long time."
Chicago optioned IF Adrian Cardenas to Iowa to make room on the 25-man roster for Rizzo, who was among the leaders in the minors with a .342 average, 23 home runs and 62 RBIs.
"You have to earn your way up here," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "Anthony certainly forced his way up here. He put up as good of numbers as anybody in the minors."
Rizzo also hit well in Triple-A last season but struggled in his first major-league stint, hitting .141 with one homer and nine RBIs in 49 games for San Diego.
"Last year I didn't struggle at all in the minors," Rizzo said. "Getting called up and trying to do too much, I guess my youth showed. . I learned a lot from it and I'm ready to move forward."
Chicago acquired him from the Padres during the offseason for right-hander Andrew Cashner. Hoyer was San Diego's GM last year.
Hoyer was also part of the management team in Boston when the Red Sox drafted Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, meaning that he has now drafted Rizzo and twice traded for him.
Hoyer blamed himself for calling up the young slugger too soon last year.
"I do take a lot of responsibility for what happened to him last year," Hoyer said. "So I watched him closely. He means a lot to me because I do feel like I rushed him a little last year."
Rizzo feels like he's better equipped for the big leagues after making adjustments to his swing such as holding his hands lower and shortening his stroke.
"Last year in San Diego I missed everything over the plate," Rizzo said. "I was just trying to do too much. Even this year I catch myself trying to do too much down there in one at-bat or one swing and I'll step out and kind of hit myself. Now this year my hands are a little lower, a little shorter to the ball."
The Cubs entered Tuesday's game with the majors' worst record but are hopeful Rizzo's arrival is the first step in a successful rebuilding project, though Hoyer cautions Cubs fans against expecting too much, too soon.
"I think it's great to be excited, but it has to come with the understanding that he's going to have his ups and downs," Hoyer said. "You're looking at a career here, not just a couple of weeks or a couple of months."