Izturis ready to play for Cubs

Izturis ready to play Cubs

CHICAGO -- Growing up, Cesar Izturis followed Omar Vizquel, and considers the 10-time Gold Glove shortstop one of his idols. Izturis has been compared to Vizquel, too. It's quite a compliment.

"That's what people say," Izturis said about the comparisons. "I've been following his career since I was a little kid. I want to be myself. I want to be Cesar Izturis."

He'll get that chance with the Chicago Cubs. Izturis went 2-for-4 Tuesday, hitting a double in his first at-bat of his first start for the Cubs, one day after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Greg Maddux.

"I'm proud to have the Chicago Cubs uniform," Izturis said. "Every time I played against them, I liked the fans, I liked the people. I'm happy to be here."

He was smooth on the field, too, in the Cubs' 9-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"It was good -- we got a 'W,' bottom line," Izturis said. "I had a few butterflies, but no more than usual."


"Yeah, definitely, in the first couple innings," he said. "I feel good. I'm going to try to get better every day."

Izturis was batting .252 in 32 games for the Dodgers with seven doubles, one triple and one home run. He's coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and says his arm is strong.

"Every day it gets better," he said. "I feel better than the past year."

"The guy can play," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He'll be a welcome addition."

Izturis hit everywhere except 3-4-5 for the Dodgers, and had the most at-bats batting seventh. He also played third base in Los Angeles, and welcomes a return to his natural position at short. The Dodgers acquired Rafael Furcal in the offseason to handle shortstop.

"I'm a shortstop. I've played shortstop all my career," he said.

Baker liked the way his lineup looked with Juan Pierre leading off and Izturis hitting second.

"It gives me a double leadoff man, a guy who can run, who knows how to play," Baker said. "I think he'll be a very welcome addition."

"As long as I'm in the lineup, I'm happy," Izturis said.

A Gold Glove winner in 2004, Izturis takes pride in his defense.

"I'm still working on it every day and trying to get better," he said.

"We're looking for him to just get better," Baker said. "This guy is young. We're looking for him to play ball, be a ballplayer, get on, advance runners."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.