The Cubs are in no rush to bring Ian Stewart up and give him his third-base job back.
They like what they have in Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom, who are holding down the position just fine. In fact, the Cubs activated Stewart off the disabled list Friday and optioned him to Class AAA Iowa.
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Stewart has been at Iowa on a rehab assignment as he recovers from a left-quad strain, an injury he suffered early in spring training. He has a batting line of .091/.255/.114 on 4-for-44 hitting.
On the big-league club, Valbuena and Ransom have combined for 8 homers and 17 RBI.
"Right now, that combination is one of the best in baseball at that position," said manager Dale Sveum. "There's nothing you need to change there.
"Valbuena has power. He has pull power. He has opposite-field (power). We saw it last year in certain stints. That's why him getting to play every day, we worked on a few things in spring training to have a little bit more pull power and to think a little bit more about slugging and things like that.
"And it's been paying off, and he's been doing a good job. That's a left-handed bat that has power for a smaller-statured guy. We've got to take advantage of that and get it out of him."
Valbuena matched his career high in Friday's 6-5 loss to the Reds by picking up 3 hits. He was 3-for-4. Ransom walked as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.
Kane County Cougar honored:
Infielder Rock Shoulders of the Cubs' Kane County Cougars affiliate was named the organization's minor-league player of the month for April. Left-hander Eric Jokisch, who pitched at Northwestern University, was named minor-league pitcher of the month.
Shoulders, 21 batted .370 (30-for-81) with 19 runs, 7 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI in 22 April games for the Cougars. He posted a .457 on-base percentage, thanks in part to 13 walks, and had a .642 slugging percentage to give him a 1.099 OPS, the second-highest mark in the Midwest League.
Jokisch, 23, went 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA (6 ER/29.1 IP) in 5 April starts for Class AA Tennessee, striking out 21 while walking six and limiting the opponents to a .240 batting average. He began the season going at least 6 innings while allowing 1 or no runs in each of his first 4 starts. Jokisch finished the month tied for fifth in the Southern League in victories, tied for eighth in innings pitched and ninth in ERA.