Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Joe Mather and Blake DeWitt are among the topics in this week's Cubs Inbox. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your name and hometown.
Now that Rizzo is with the big league team, how long until Jackson gets called up? Does it make it easier if Alfonso Soriano is traded? -- Matthew W., St. Peters, Mo.
Jackson's promotion has nothing to do with Soriano, but depends on whether Jackson can show he's earned a spot on the big league team. In 75 games, he's hitting .254 with 11 homers, 16 doubles and nine triples. Jackson has an OPS of .822, but has also struck out 111 times. In a three-game stretch from June 22-24, Jackson was 4-for-12, scored four runs, hit three homers, walked three times and struck out six times. Cubs manager Dale Sveum has been keeping tabs on Jackson's at-bats and likes the outfielder's bat speed, quickness and athleticism. But the strikeouts are a problem.
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"It's very alarming," Sveum said. "It's almost a strange occurrence how many there are. Even if he's 3-for-5, the outs are strikeouts. ... He's on pace to strike out 200 times in a Minor League season, which is not easy to do."
Am I the only one concerned that the supposed defensive wonder kid at first base has nine errors at Triple-A? -- Mat B., Chicago
Yes, you are. If you watched Rizzo in his first two games Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field, he looked very comfortable and handled the position well. Several scouts have told me Rizzo has the potential to be a Gold Glove first baseman. He's very diligent about a pregame routine that he sticks to.
Why did Mather switch his jersey number from 16 to 21? -- Dave B., Lake in the Hills, Ill.
Because of Roberto Clemente.
"I had [No. 21] in high school," Mather said. "It's always been a favorite number of mine. I always see the highlight of Roberto Clemente running around and I see the 21 on his back, and I always liked that and always wanted myself to look like that. I always liked the number for that reason."
Clubhouse manager Tom Hellmann approved the switch. It looked even better with two outs in the Chicago fourth Monday night when Geovany Soto walked and Mather followed with his fourth home run, hitting a 1-1 pitch from the Mets' Johan Santana into the left-field bleachers.
"It was a good way to break it in, that's for sure," Mather said.
Will the Cubs save any money now that Marlon Byrd was suspended for 50 games? -- Steve O., Chicago
They most likely will not. Because Byrd was released, the balance of his contract became termination pay. He received the suspension after he had been released by the Red Sox. Cubs officials were looking into the matter.
What's up with DeWitt? Since his demotion in May, he's only appeared in a few games with Triple-A Iowa. Was there an injury to report, or is he simply not seeing time down there? -- Jim W., Arlington Heights, Ill.
DeWitt injured his wrist on May 24, and he did not return to action until June 16. In 13 games with Iowa, he is 7-for-41 (.171) with two doubles.