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Cubs look for Rizzo to improve non-power numbers

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CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo ranks among the National League leaders in home runs and RBIs, but the Cubs wouldn't mind seeing some other numbers improve.

"I think a lot of times people look at the 'one' in front of his batting average and think he's struggling," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said of Rizzo, who entered Tuesday's game batting .191. "Offensively, I don't have issues with him at all. ... Certainly, you want him to get more hits with runners in scoring position and more line drives. Those hits will come. It's 18 games in."

Rizzo has six home runs and 14 RBIs, and is one home run shy of the team mark for most by a left-handed hitter in the month of April. Hall of Famer Billy Williams and Henry Rodriguez each hit seven in April, doing so in 1970 and 2000, respectively.

Rizzo's did hit seven home runs and drove in 17 runs last July. What does manager Dale Sveum want to see?

"Just be Anthony Rizzo," Sveum said. "He came up last year and was worried about RBIs more than home runs. I think he's a little too animated in his approach right now, meaning a lot of movement going on, a lot of indecision instead of perfecting one thing and knowing that's going to work. We just want him to be Anthony Rizzo."

That means a little better play on the field, too, Hoyer said.

"I think with 'Riz,' he's a young player but he can tighten up his game as well," Hoyer said. "He's got great hands, a great arm. There's no reason this guy isn't a Gold Glove quality first baseman. He's made too many mistakes for a guy with that potential. Some of that is youth and some of that needs to change.

"He's a big part of our future. He's not immune from some of the mistakes we've been making. We need to get to the bottom of why he's making those mistakes."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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