Olt slated to test shoulder at third base in game

Olt slated to test shoulder at third base in game

MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Olt, limited to first base and designated-hitter duties because of a tender right shoulder, is expected to make his first start at third base Thursday. Whether he has enough time to convince the Cubs he should be on the Opening Day roster is still to be determined.

The Cubs have Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy to platoon at third. Olt has hit four home runs this spring and was batting .258 entering Wednesday night's game.

"He's got to be healthy," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday about whether Olt can make the team. "We can't make a determination on anything as far as where he's going to be until we know he's capable of being able to go out there.

"We've got to take it one day at a time. I can't project because I don't have that luxury. He hasn't played third base all spring. He's been working over there; he's been working at first. I need to see him out there [at third]; we all need to see him out there. He needs to feel comfortable."

Olt did some early work at third base Wednesday and got the go-ahead to play there in a Cactus League game. Acquired last July in the Matt Garza trade with the Rangers, he could provide the Cubs with some much-needed power.

"We'll take it one step at a time," Renteria said. "He's obviously swinging the bat real well this spring and I know he's played third base well in the past. I need to see him healthy. We've got [less than] two weeks left."

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.