SAN DIEGO -- Anthony Rizzo gave his Cubs teammates a first-hand scouting report Monday on Petco Park. He should know. It was his home park last season, his first in the big leagues.
Monday was Rizzo's first game back in San Diego after he was traded in the offseason from the Padres to the Cubs. He called last year a learning experience, and said he made the adjustments he needed to do. He had to. Rizzo batted .141 in 49 games with San Diego, including .171 at Petco.
"The first time around here was crazy, and it was a lot to take in and a lot of different things happened and it obviously didn't go the way I wanted," Rizzo said. "I was prepared more this time when I came up [to the Cubs]. I was more anxious to get on the field again to prove myself."
He's done that, winning National League Rookie of the Month in July after batting .330 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in 25 games. Petco is not very hitter friendly. Was that the problem?
"The ballpark could've been a T-ball field and I couldn't hit the ball," Rizzo said. "I just wasn't hitting the ball. That's the biggest thing. I wasn't hitting the fastball or pretty much anything. I made some adjustments, and I'm happy where I'm at, and I want to continue to keep getting better."
OK, so what was the problem?
"Probably between my ears," he said. "It's just one of those things. I had to start hitting better, and made the adjustment. ... You try to get five hits in one at-bat is nearly impossible -- I think."
This series also is a return trip for Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, who had the same job with the Padres for two seasons before joining Theo Epstein's staff in Chicago.
"I'm sure I'll enjoy myself and bounce around and see a lot of people," Hoyer said about coming back. "It's fun to be back in San Diego to see friends. I love this ballpark. It's a great place to watch a game. It's obviously a beautiful city. You always have mixed feelings when you go back to a place you enjoy, and I do have mixed feelings, but it's fun to come back here with the Cubs and hopefully we can win the series."