Palatine native Mike Tauchman made his presence known during Wrigley Field debut
Mike Tauchman's first week in the major leagues was nothing like his initial week playing at Wrigley Field.
The Palatine native made his big-league debut with Colorado on June 27, 2017, at San Francisco. The Rockies clearly saw his skill set as a late-game defensive placement.
During the portions of two seasons Tauchman spent with Colorado, he played in 52 games, but started just eight.
Last week in Chicago, he started all nine games during the Cubs home stand and hit .370 with 4 RBIs. He says the week did not include any Frank Schwindel-style victory laps around Wrigleyville.
"I think I'm a little bit too old for the Wrigleyville crowd," said the 32-year-old Tauchman. "After games, I'm trying to get back to bed as fast as I can."
Tauchman and his wife, Eileen, made Arlington Heights their permanent home a few years ago, so he's been living the suburban commuter lifestyle.
"Most days we were going home, unless I had a night to day (game)," he said. "Trying to get out of here and beat a little bit of traffic. It was just nice to spend a little time in my own bed and spend some time with my dog and stuff like that."
Tauchman's string of 12 straight starts in center field came to an end Sunday with the Padres starting a left-handed pitcher. Christopher Morel started in center field in the Cubs' 7-1 victory in San Diego. Tauchman did get one at-bat as, what else, a late-game defensive replacement.
Only after Tauchman was traded to the Yankees did he become a lineup regular. He platooned with Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier in New York, but started 77 games in 2019 for a Yankees team that won 103 games. He spent 2022 playing in the Korean league before signing with the Cubs last winter.
He had never played a game at Wrigley Field until May 23, when the Cubs beat the Mets 7-2.
"It was good. I was just trying to help the team, have good at-bats, play good defense," Tauchman said of his week at Wrigley. "I had some people roll through during the week.
"I guess it was nice being a long home stand, because not everybody tried to come on the same day. Most of the people who are pretty important in my life got out to a game or two, so it was great."
Tauchman keeps a quiet, low-key personality, which was evident going back to his freshman year at Fremd High School when he was promoted to varsity.
"Even back as a freshman, mentally he was tough and didn't let things bother him like having a bad at-bat," Fremd baseball coach Chris Piggott said. "He was always very quiet, but he always played hard, almost like he played with a chip on his shoulder; the kind of guy you just hate to play against -- tough out, battled in everything he did and was just kind of pesky as a player."
Tauchman was brought up from Triple A to replace the injured Cody Bellinger. Before Sunday's game, Bellinger told reporters in San Diego that he's not likely to return during this West Coast road trip.
One question to be settled is whether Tauchman has shown enough to stay with the Cubs as a utility player after Bellinger does return. For now, he's just trying to enjoy the experience.
"It's always exciting. There's always a lot of energy," Tauchman said of playing for the Cubs. "Definitely trying to stay a little bit more centered this time around. Take a minute to appreciate things, but also, 'Hey, gotta play baseball.'"