Olt, Lake enduring growing pains at plate

Olt, Lake enduring growing pains at plate

PHOENIX -- Mike Olt and Junior Lake had first halves to forget. Olt does lead all National League rookies with 12 home runs, but entering Saturday, he was batting .144 while Lake was batting .218. Cubs manager Rick Renteria hasn't given up on either player.

"One of the things I try to talk to them about is not focus on the results -- I want them to focus on the at-bat," Renteria said. "It's one of the toughest gigs that they have as young men in the big leagues; to come off the bench and play every three, four, five, six days, and still try to develop.

"I think the biggest thing we try to do is balance their emotional state," Renteria said. "If I can keep their emotional state in check and feel they're still positive, still grinding and not losing a whole lot of their confidence, then we're succeeding. In the long term, yes, we want them to be able to perform. We're still trying to balance that all out."

Olt started for the fourth time in the Cubs' last nine games on Saturday. Renteria has tried to match the third baseman against left-handed starters, and the team simply hasn't faced many.

"We've scattered at-bats throughout," Renteria said.

Lake batted .284 last season, his first in the big leagues, and does have more home runs this year (nine vs. six), but his average has dropped.

Renteria was asked if either Olt or Lake needed more regular at-bats in the Minor Leagues. The Cubs will have to make a roster move Tuesday when Kyle Hendricks is added to make the start. Arismendy Alcantara was promoted from Triple-A Iowa when Darwin Barney went on paternity leave, and was 9-for-26 in six games.

"I don't want to speculate on any of that," Renteria said of possible roster moves. "The biggest thing for us to know is that [Alcantara] will be here through the weekend, and once we sit down and talk about the possible moves, you guys will know."

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.