The last time Ryan Sweeney found himself at Triple-A to start the season he was a 22-year-old No. 1-rated prospect in the White Sox minor league system on the cusp of a potentially great career. Six years and myriad of injuries later Sweeney is fighting for his baseball future during the Cubs’ final 22 games of the season. Sweeney’s year hasn’t gone as planned from starting at Triple-A Iowa where he spent the first month of the season to a fractured rib that sidelined him 56 games. But the adversity he’s faced hasn’t derailed Sweeney. “I just kind of had a chip on my shoulder having to start off in Triple-A not having been there in a long time” Sweeney said. A free agent this offseason Sweeney 28 is still in the prime of his career and eager to prove he can be an everyday outfielder. When he’s been able to stay healthy and get regular opportunities Sweeney has put together solid numbers and given the Cubs’ lineup another left-handed bat to accompany first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right fielder Nate Schierholtz. Since coming off the 60-day disabled list Sept. 1 manager Dale Sveum has afforded Sweeney plenty of playing time starting him in each of the Cubs’ last six games including Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. “He’s got an ability in center field to make things look easy” Sveum said of Sweeney. “You don’t want to put anybody in the Jim Edmonds category or anything like that but he makes it kind of look easy like Jim Edmonds did with a great deal of speed.” With his steady defense and the potential to hit for power Sweeney would complement a potential 2014 starting outfield featuring Junior Lake and Schierholtz. But a roster spot won’t just be handed to him. Outfielder Brian Bogusevic under team control through 2017 is also fighting to stick with the Cubs. The left-handed 29-year-old hit a solo homer Saturday against Milwaukee.
Sweeney making the most of his chance with Cubs
CSN Chicago | Sep 8