CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum was rarely an everyday player during his 12-year playing career, so he's well aware of the difficulties bench players face.
That's why he's been impressed by outfielder Reed Johnson.
Johnson, who started in center field for the Cubs on Saturday against the D-backs, has a .302/.352/.450 slash line with three home runs this season in 65 games, only 29 of which have been starts.
The 35-year-old is also hitting .478 (11-for-23) as a pinch-hitter, with his 11 pinch-hits leading the Majors.
"I had to do it, and it's one of the hardest things to do -- to play off the bench," Sveum said. "It's hard enough to hit every day when you're playing, let alone off the bench once a week, twice a week, pinch-hitting.
"He's just one of [those] guys, another guy that comes to work every day at an older age that tries to make himself a better player every day. That's what you appreciate from guys, is no matter what they've accomplished or how old they are or how much money, is they're still coming to the park to make themselves a better player every day."