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updated: 8/4/2013 6:45 PM

Cubs' Watkins gets hit in major-league debut

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Like many players getting their first call-up to the major leagues, the Cubs' Logan Watkins wasn't sure if it was real.

"My manager called me," Watkins said of Marty Pevey, the manager of the Cubs' Class AAA Iowa team. "It was crazy. To be honest, I didn't have his number in my phone, so when he called, I was like, 'What number is this?' And I didn't answer it.

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"He called again, and he told me I was going. I thought he might have been joking, but he was serious. I called my family and told them. They're really excited."

Watkins got the call late Saturday afternoon after the Cubs said they had to put third baseman Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right oblique.

Watkins, who turns 24 on Aug. 29, caught a 6 p.m. flight out of Seattle-Tacoma, where the I-Cubs were getting set to play Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League.

He started at second base in Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Cody Ransom playing third and recent call-up Donnie Murphy at shortstop. Watkins notched his first major-league hit, a single to left field, in the sixth inning, as he went 1-for-4.

At Iowa, he had a hitting line of 243/.333/.379 with 18 doubles, 7 triples, 8 homers and 26 RBI. He also had 52 walks and 98 strikeouts.

"He's kind of a little exciting player that can run and bunt, and obviously, a left-handed hitter," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He can actually drive the ball and do some things. He's always got on base. I'm anxious to see him play up here."

Watkins, a 21st-round draft pick in 2008 and the Cubs' minor-league player of the year last season, said he wasn't happy with his performance at Iowa.

"I'm really hard on myself," he said. "I feel I do a good job of competing every single day.

"I was a tough out every day, I know that. The batting average probably could have been a little better. I had a rough week on defense, but other than that, the season has been all right."

A day of rest:

Dale Sveum did not start shortstop Starlin Castro, second baseman Darwin Barney and catcher Welington Castillo.

"Four or five days ago, I planned to give Barney the day anyway because of the day off," Sveum said, referring to Monday's open date in the schedule. "That way, he gets two, as well as Welly and two days off for guys who have been playing every single day as well as Castro.

"It just kind of fell into place today anyway. Obviously, we're not doing much offensively anyway, so let guys kick back and get a blow."

The cold corner:

Third baseman Cody Ransom is struggling badly at the plate. He was 2-for-21 on the homestand, and his batting average has fallen to .199.

The Cubs put the first two runners on in the sixth inning, trailing 1-0. Catcher Dioner Navarro, a slow runner, was on second base. Ransom struck out, and Dale Sveum said he was not considering a bunt because of Navarro's lack of speed. The Cubs got no runs on 3 hits that inning.

"We don't have many options," Sveum said of third base. "We'll see what happens with Murphy. That's really our only option."

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