MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs are making sure Junior Lake doesn't waste any time. To help him feel more comfortable in the outfield, they've asked Lake to "power shag" during batting practice and take advantage of any balls hit his way.
"He's unbelievable out there," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Lake, who was an infielder until last season. "He chases almost every ball that's hit."
Lake was promoted to the big leagues in mid-July and batted .284 in 64 games. His effort impressed pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
"He came up, did his work, got to the field early, was never late, played hard, he was prepared, and I think that's a good guy for [young players] to look at and see how he came in and had immediate success and why," Samardzija said. "He wasn't expecting to come in and be the guy right from the beginning. He did his job, and all of a sudden, we were finding spots to put him in the lineup and the field. That's what you want, is to be a versatile player."
Lake prefers center but also can play left. Renteria will experiment with where he puts Lake in the lineup this spring.
"He's a multi-faceted individual who can slot in any number of positions in the lineup," Renteria said. "As the spring progresses and we see how he's coming along and the adjustments he's making, that will help us determine how we'll slot him in the lineup."
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.