Hits keep coming for Cubs surprise Ortega

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Rafael Ortega singles off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta during the third inning Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

    Chicago Cubs' Rafael Ortega singles off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta during the third inning Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/10/2021 9:14 PM

Cubs outfielder Rafael Ortega continues to rake. He went 3-for-4 in Game 1 against the Brewers, raising his batting average on the season to .331. Since the all-star break, he's hit .413 with a 1.130 OPS.

"Just another guy that's out proving he's a major league player," Cubs manager David Ross said. "He's consistent. Every time we give him the at-bats, he does something with it. He earned this."

 

Ortega started the season in Iowa as one of the veteran minor-leaguers the Cubs signed to provide depth. Who knew he would end up as the team's most reliable hitter?

Ortega, 30, made his major league debut in 2012 with Colorado. He earned part-time roles with the Angels in 2016. Marlins in '18 and Braves in '19. He'll likely set career-highs in games played and at-bats this year.

"Honestly, I've never had a doubt that I have the ability to be a major league starter and a major league player," he said. "It's all about having the opportunity, bring given a proper chance and I feel I'm receiving that now and taking advantage of it.

"At first, it was all about making the major leagues, but I found out it's not about just making it, it's about establishing that consistent production every time you're out there. I'm grateful for the Cubs for giving me this opportunity to be here, but what I'm trying to show them is I can do this every day."

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The Venezuela native is married and has two kids, so a long-term job in the majors would be life-changing. As it stands now, he has a great chance of being back with the Cubs next year.

"Getting called up, being sent down, it's not something that's easy for any player," Ortega said. "Whenever I'm sad or frustrated, (his family) brings me up so I can continue to do what I do and produce. I just want to give them a better future and hopefully establish myself in the big leagues."

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