Since the Cubs made third baseman Josh Vitters the No. 3 overall pick in the draft 11 months ago, the 19-year-old has yet to find much professional success.
The Cubs kept Vitters in extended spring training in Arizona instead of letting him begin this season with a full-season club. On April 18, the Cubs sent Vitters from extended spring training to low Class A Peoria. Vitters provided the Chiefs with an offensive explosion, going 3-for-4 with three doubles in his first action of the season. Vitters appeared in three more games—and struggled, going 0-for-10 with four strikeouts—before injuring his left hand on a swing against Lansing on April 21.
Vitters hasn’t played since that game, but Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita said that Vitters saw a doctor in Chicago and should be back in the lineup in two to three days.
"He took a swing and felt something a little weird in his hand," Fleita said. "To be honest with you, we probably made a bigger deal about it than he did. You just gotta take care of little injuries early on in a young player’s career."
Before Vitters’s promotion to Peoria, Fleita had said the Cubs planned to have Vitters begin the season with short-season Boise. However, the Cubs moved incumbent Peoria third baseman Marquez Smith to second base to make room for Vitters on the roster and give him regular playing time at his primary position. Smith has since returned to third base in Vitters’s absence.
"He got off to a great start (in extended spring training), he was doing well and we had a position where we thought we could get him some playing time," Fleita said.
"The beauty," Fleita added, "is that if you make a mistake, you can always send guys to Boise and get a fresh start. We don’t care about winning. We want to put guys in position to play. The opportunity arose and we decided, why not?"
Last year in his first taste of professional baseball, Vitters hit .118/.164/.118 (6-for-51 with six singles and three walks) in 14 games split between the Rookie-level Arizona League and Boise.