Monday, February 14, 2011

Ex-Clemsonite Tyler Colvin to See Time at First

Emerging Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin -- who burst onto the major league scene last year by hitting 20 home runs in 358 at-bats -- will return to familiar territory in Cactus League action when he will see time at first base, a position he played as a Clemson Tiger.

Cubs manager Mike Quade surprised reporters with the revelation, leaving Colvin's possibilities open to wild speculation even before the first spring pitch is thrown.

Colvin, 25, is listed as the backup to right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, 34, and first baseman Carlos Pena, 33, but because all three players are left-handed batters, Quade can find no easy way to work any of them into the lineup as part of a platoon, even a part-time platoon.

However, it is interesting to note that Colvin seems to handle left-handed pitching better than either of his two senior teammates, though Fukudome and Pena have superior defensive skills compared to Colvin's.

It is difficult to imagine the rookie usurping either of the two veterans with any regularity, especially Pena, who has just been signed to a $10 million, one-year pact. But Fukudome has been a disappointment at the plate since the Japanese import was signed three years ago, and fans' patience is wearing thin.

Expect Colvin to see plenty of time in left field and enough reps at first base to take over for Pena next year, if Colvin proves he can be effective around the bag.