It was a whirlwind two days in New York for rookie Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur. The native and resident of Cape May, N.J., was called up from Class AAA Iowa and made his major-league debut Sunday against the Mets at Citi Field.
On Tuesday, he was at Wrigley Field looking to make his Chicago debut.
"It was great," the 25-year-old Szczur said. "It was only a three-hour ride for friends and family. It was a great experience."
Szczur was a fifth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Villanova. At the time, he was more known for his college-football exploits.
"It was a tough journey," he said. "Baseball wasn't my primary sport, ever. Once I made it my primary sport is when the journey began. There were a lot of struggles getting here. And now they're all worth it."
At Iowa, Szczur (pronounced "Ceasar") had a batting line of .261/.315/.312 with 16 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 24 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
"I think I had a pretty good season," he said. "I played well defensively. I had a lot of stolen bags. I really didn't hit too well at the beginning of the season, but I stepped it up in the second half.
"It's a great opportunity to show all my assets, from baserunning to playing defense and getting up there and just scrapping at the plate. I'm really excited to be here."
Cubs manager Rick Renteria did not start Szczur on Tuesday, and he'll pick his spots with him.
"He did a really nice job at Triple-A," Renteria said. "He's actually been an individual that we see as being able to platoon, see if that role benefits him. We've got four guys on the bench. He's a guy I can use in many ways. He can pinch run, pinch hit, plays all the outfield positions. He's a pretty astute baseball player, so I'm hoping all of those abilities I'll be able to use for the rest of the season."
It's all 4s:
Cubs pitching held the Mets to 4 hits in each of the four games over the weekend in New York.
It was just the second time since 1914 that the Cubs allowed 4 or fewer hits in four straight games. The other was in 1983, April 28 against the Padres and April 29-May 1 against the Dodgers. The Cubs cited research historian Ed Hartig for the information.
Elias reports that the Cubs are the first big-league team to hold its opponent to 4 or fewer his since 2008, when the Mets had a five-game streak in July. The Cubs became the first team to do so in four games of the same series since the Houston Colt .45s did it in September 1963 against the Mets at the Polo Grounds in New York.
Player-coach Manny Ramirez hit his third homer of the season Tuesday for Class AAA Iowa in a 4-2 loss to Salt Lake.
First baseman Mike Olt, who started the season with the Cubs, left the game after going 1-for-3. Olt suffered an apparent hamstring injury.
Third baseman Kris Bryant, who bruised his left foot over the weekend, was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.