Vitters, Jackson embrace first Wrigley experience

Vitters, Jackson embrace first Wrigley experience

CHICAGO -- Josh Vitters took batting practice at Wrigley Field shortly after the Cubs selected him No. 3 overall in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Because of rain, the young third baseman didn't get to take it again Thursday -- his first game in Chicago as a member of the Cubs -- but he's looking forward to it.

"Just to be out here and be part of the team this time and not just taking BP for getting drafted in the first round, it's really great to have earned my way here," said Vitters, ranked by MLB.com as the Cubs' No. 11 prospect. "Hopefully I'll be here for a long time to come."

Vitters and center fielder Brett Jackson -- the club's 2009 first-round pick and top-ranked prospect -- joined the Cubs on the team's West Coast trip. With a few games under their belts as Major Leaguers -- four for Vitters and three for Jackson -- they came to Wrigley Field on Thursday for the first time as Cubs.

Jackson was in Thursday's starting lineup, playing center field and batting seventh, while Vitters sat against Reds right-hander Mike Leake.

Jackson admitted his first few days in the Majors -- which included traveling to Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago -- were a whirlwind.

"I finally got a little sleep the last couple nights, which is nice," Jackson said. "I'm starting to settle in a little bit. This is a whole new experience, though, playing in Chicago tonight. I kind of got settled in in San Diego and then kind of getting that adrenaline, that excitement again tonight. But it's been a fun few days."

Both players figure to see plenty of playing time during the remainder of the season as the Cubs continue to look toward the future. Vitters said he was told he'd play mostly against left-handed pitchers and sparingly against righties, while Jackson should get plenty of big league experience while honing his swing (eight strikeouts in 11 at-bats entering Thursday).

The fact that the two of them get to experience the excitement -- and struggles -- of their callup together is a bonus.

"We always talked about it, the last few years, we were talking about how awesome it would be to be called up together," Vitters said. "I think that's just the perfect way to come in."