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posted: 7/29/2012 8:56 PM

Cubs' 3B prospect still waiting for a shot

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The Cubs don't seem to be in any hurry to bring third-base prospect Josh Vitters up from Class AAA Iowa.

Since Ian Stewart hurt his wrist in June and eventually had surgery, the Cubs have been regularly going with journeyman Luis Valbuena at third. Valbuena fields the position well, but he has a hitting line of .198/.258/.339 with 3 homers and 18 RBI. In Sunday's 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, Valbuena was 0-for-2 with 2 walks.

Vitters, who turns 23 on Aug. 27, was the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2007. He's had a solid season offensively, as he entered Sunday with a hitting line of .303/.356/.510 with 15 home runs and 63 RBI.

"He's swinging the bat as good as anybody down there if not in all of Triple-A," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "He's been hot for a good month, six weeks. Right now, there's nothing on the table to think about or anything like that. Obviously, after this trade deadline, there will probably be a lot more talks and all that stuff between the front office and myself about adds and subtractions and things like that too."

Vitters has made 20 errors, and there has been a question of where he will end up on the field.

"Nothing really seems to have gotten worse or gotten better," Sveum said. "We need to still keep an eye on that and see where he is defensively."

Germano to start:

Recently acquired Justin Germano will start Monday night's series opener against the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs need to fill the rotation spot of Matt Garza, who is on the mend from cramping in his right triceps. Germano came to the Cubs in a trade with the Red Sox on July 19. He spent most of the season as a starting pitcher for Boston's Class AAA Pawtucket farm club.

"He's not going to light up a radar gun or anything," Dale Sveum said. "But he's got great arm speed on all his offpseed pitches. He'll change speeds on a slow curveball, anywhere from a 68- to 75-78-mph curveball, changeup. Sinks the ball. Keeps the ball down. Just kind of crafty, as much as anything, but has command of four pitches."

Barney busts out:

Second baseman Darwin Barney got a partial day off Saturday and came back Sunday with a 3-for-4 day, including 2 doubles.

"He gets tomorrow off, too, I told him," Dale Sveum said. "You're going to get 3 hits every other day ... that's not true. I did say that, but I was just kidding."

Barney went along with it.

"It's funny when he says that," Barney said. "You don't know if he's serious or not. If he gives me a day off and I can get 3 hits the next day, I'll take it. It was nice to contribute a little bit today."

Barney recorded his fourth 3-hit game of the year.

This and that:

Since coming up from Class AAA Iowa June 26, first baseman Anthony Rizzo leads all National League rookies with a .333 batting average (35-for-105), 7 homers and 17 RBI. ... Reliever James Russell improved to 5-0 with his second victory in two days. ... The Cubs are 12-3 in their last 15 home games.

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