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Lake gives Cubs jolt in first taste of big leagues

Lake gives Cubs jolt in first taste of big leagues

Lake gives Cubs jolt in first taste of big leagues

PHOENIX -- Could Junior Lake be the Cubs' own Yasiel Puig?

It's a little early, but Lake has certainly provided a spark since he was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he will keep Lake in the leadoff spot for now.

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"He's a real dynamic player who can do things in that spot," Sveum said. "You ride that as long as you can."

Lake hit his first Major League home run on Monday, part of his first four-hit game against the D-backs. He homered again Tuesday on a 3-for-5 night, lifting his average to .545.

"It's still a small sample," Sveum said of Lake, who has 12 hits in his first 22 at-bats. "There's no question in my mind for four days, he's sparked a couple wins, and [Monday], he took over the game and basically won the game. When you get down to it, in a 162-game season, when you have those kind of impact players who can control the game, you look back and it's like 14 wins where he took over. That's what you'd like at every position. Those are the kind of players you have to have."

There will be growing pains. Lake is making the transition from infield to outfield at the big league level. Sveum said he's noticed that Lake was having a tough time reading big swings on bloop hits, and how to play them.

"Those are things that come with repetition," Sveum said. "A guy like [David] DeJesus has been out there for so long, he's really good at that."

Lake, ranked No. 11 among the Cubs' top prospects, was a different player this spring than in 2012 when Sveum first saw him.

"When guys know they're a phone call away [from the big leagues], it changes things," Sveum said.

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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