Pinch of Navarro's bat the perfect recipe for Cubs

Pinch of Navarro's bat the perfect recipe for Cubs

CHICAGO -- Dioner Navarro seems to have perfected hitting off the bench.

The Cubs backup catcher is 5-for-9 (.556) as a pinch-hitter but 2-for-26 (.077) as a starter.

"I think his personality has a lot to do with that," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "He's not a guy who's up there thinking a lot. He's also a guy who can make adjustments and he can hit a fastball. [On Friday], you could tell he was making adjustments to get on top of the fastball and not just swinging the bat."

Navarro came off the bench in the ninth against the Reds' Aroldis Chapman and hit a leadoff single. Sveum is aware of the discrepancy in Navarro's stats.

"I know, it's kind of weird," Sveum said. "I had a year like that -- it might have been my last year. I started once in a while, and I stunk, but every time I got up, I'd get a pinch-hit. It was kind of weird that way."

Maybe he didn't think too much when he pinch-hit?

"That's what it comes down to sometimes," Sveum said. "Starters, since they have four pitches, you might sometimes get caught [thinking], 'Well, he might throw this one, he might throw that one.' Off the bench, you're geared up for the fastball and what happens, happens."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for 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.