Camp, Valbuena prove to be season's big surprises

Camp, Valbuena prove to be season's big surprises

CHICAGO -- Shawn Camp was released by the Mariners on March 21, and signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs five days later. The right-hander has appeared in a career-high 78 games for the Cubs.

Luis Valbuena was claimed off waivers on April 4, spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, and will finish with more starts at third base than Ian Stewart, who had been projected as the Cubs' everyday third baseman.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum tabbed Camp and Valbuena as two of the biggest surprises this season as well as veteran Alfonso Soriano, who has set a career-high in RBIs.

"Soriano has been the biggest every single day, all season long surprise, defensively and offensively," Sveum said. "The person he is, the work ethic and everything has been awesome for a new manager to come in and see what he brings to the table.

"Some of these key pickups right at the end of Spring Training have kept us afloat," Sveum said of Valbuena and Camp. "Those kind of guys have helped us out tremendously or this would have been an even tougher season."