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Lake to keep getting starts in outfield

Lake to keep getting starts in outfield

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Lake to keep getting starts in outfield

CHICAGO -- The best way for Junior Lake to learn how to play the outfield is by playing.

Lake, who had been an infielder primarily coming up through the Cubs' system, has played only in the outfield since he was promoted on July 19.

"You can't replace the reps in a game in center field and the outfield," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You can kind of simulate infield because of ground balls, but the outfield, it's very difficult to simulate balls over your head and in the gap and other outfielders running for the same ball. Outfield is a lot of reps to get going out there."

The Cubs are hoping Lake gets more playing time in the outfield in winter ball. Sveum wouldn't rule out having the athletic Lake switch to third if needed.

"He's the kind of guy you want covering a lot of space," Sveum said. "It looks like he can go get 'em."

Lake is the first Cubs player to begin his big league career with a seven-game hit streak since Jerome Walton did so in 1989. Lake had 15 hits in his first seven games, the most by a Cubs player since at least 1916. He still has some things to learn at the plate.

"That's always going to be the biggest thing, is getting good pitches to hit and not be in a panic, because a guy like him has bat speed," Sveum said. "It's all a learning process to face this kind of pitching on an everyday basis."

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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