Third baseman Josh Vitters apparently is going to be left behind as the Cubs' youth movement thunders onward.
After recently saying that Vitters would get 70-75 percent of the playing time the rest of the way, manager Dale Sveum gave a third straight start Thursday to Luis Valbuena.
Look for more of the same.
"Obviously, it's shifted gears a little bit that way because we're just not getting anything out of that position," Sveum said. "A guy that hasn't struck out much is striking out quite a bit and not making a lot of contact in that position. We're just going to evaluate and keep plugging along to see, to determine what do we have and moving forward in evaluating these guys in situations hopefully they can succeed."
Vitters pinch hit and walked in the sixth inning of Thursday's 12-11 victory over Milwaukee. He is 5-for-54 (.093) with 19 strikeouts and 1 walk.
"I can hit at the major-league level right now," Vitters said. "There are always adjustments that need to be made. Right now, there are all sorts of adjustments that need to be made, and I'm working on making them, and I'm making strides to get where I need to be for next year.
"I'm looking at it extremely positively. I've learned a lot this year, and I feel it's going to help me in my career in the long run."
It's hard to say now whether Vitters will be the front-runner for the third-base job next year. The Cubs acquired Ian Stewart from Colorado to play third this year, but he has missed most of the season with a wrist injury.
"You've got high hopes for all your guys," Sveum said. "They have the ability to swing the bat and can do some things, but we're evaluating at the big-league level now. It's not really evaluating how somebody hits in Triple-A or when their development is over. We're trying to get an evaluation of how people react in the big leagues, period."
The Giants are coming:
The weekend series against the Giants at Wrigley Field looks to be a classic mismatch. The Cubs are 50-80 while the Giants entered Thursday night's game at Houston leading the NL West at 73-57.
The Giants will throw Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain at the Cubs.
"That pitching staff is one of the tops in baseball, and that's with Lincecum having a tough year," said Dale Sveum. "But we have three guys coming in that are going to be very tough to score runs off of, especially tomorrow, with Bumgarner. We've got to put the best team on the field. You're trying to put the best team on the field, especially against these teams that are in first place and do the best you can against those guys."
Center fielder Brett Jackson hit 2 doubles in the sixth inning. He became the fourth Cub in the last 15 years to record 2 extra-base hits in an inning, joining Jim Edmonds, Jacque Jones and Mark Bellhorn.
"Actually earlier this year I did," Jackson said of 2 doubles in an inning. "Not in the big leagues."
Jackson accomplished that for Class AAA Iowa.
Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to six games. His first-inning triple was his 10th of the year.
He is the eighth different Cub in the last 50 years with at least 10 triples in one season.