Molina can't catch Cubs' Campana
CHICAGO – Cubs speedster Tony Campana enjoyed the cat-and-mouse game with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina this week at Wrigley Field.
Although Campana did not attempt to steal in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to St. Louis, going 0 for 4, he stole four bases in four attempts against Molina and the Cardinals during the series – including one on Tuesday when he appeared to be out but was ruled safe.
“He kind of brings out the best in you,” Campana said of Molina. “He’s the best there is out there, so you’ve got to get a good jump and even have a good slide into second.
“We’ve kind of been talking at the plate a little bit about if I was going to get him or if he was going to get me, so it’s been pretty fun.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum likes Campana’s speed but prefers him in the No. 2 spot behind leadoff hitter David DeJesus. DeJesus’ on-base percentage and Campana’s bat-handling creates the perfect combination at the top of the lineup.
“It’s kind of one of those things that I like DeJesus there and Campana being able to bunt him, move and get hits out of the same situation,” Sveum said. “When he’s putting a sacrifice bunt down or bunting for a base hit the odds are pretty good in our favor that he’s getting him over and possibly getting on base with a hit.”
Sveum stacks lineup: Left-handed bats are a commodity for every team, including the Cubs.
Sveum wants to utilize his lefties whenever possible and Wednesday against the Cardinals and right-hander Lance Lynn, five were in the lineup including catcher Steve Clevenger. Despite backing up Geovany Soto, Clevenger has already started five games this season while Campana has been the beneficiary of outfielder Marlon Byrd getting traded.
Sveum didn’t lose much roster flexibility using the stacked lefty lineup with four right handers and lefty Blake DeWitt on the bench.
“The more left-handed bats you can get in the lineup the tougher it is for the pitcher to get through the game and get his pitch count up,” Sveum said. “It’s just a lot more tougher on any pitcher to face left-handed hitters on a daily basis. It’s a nice asset to have.”
Wood update: Reliever Kerry Wood threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since landing on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder fatigue and did not suffer any setbacks.
However there is no timetable for Wood’s return, Sveum said.
“It will be close. I’m not going to say if it’s going to be that exact day or not,” Sveum said of activating Wood when he’s eligible. “We need him to go out, throw his curveball well off a mound and just really make sure that everything is good.”