David DeJesus doesn’t expect to be part of Cubs’ sell-off
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 24, 2013 10:32PM
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: Outfielder David DeJesus #9 of the Chicago Cubs catches a ball hit by Adam LaRoche #25 of the Washington Nationals (not pictured) for the second out of the eighth inning during the Cubs 2-1 win at Nationals Park on May 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Updated: July 25, 2013 12:27AM
PHOENIX — Outfielder David DeJesus returned from a shoulder injury on Wednesday just in time to spend a week building his trade value going into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
But is it possible the Cubs decide to keep their veteran leadoff hitter into next season, even with several teams believed interested in DeJesus once he proves his shoulder’s sound?
DeJesus thinks so.
Asked before Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks whether he expected to be traded, he said, “I don’t. I think I’m a veteran presence that the team needs here, and I’m a guy that can play the game, too. But you never know. All I can do is focus on preparing myself to be ready to play.”
DeJesus said he hasn’t talked to the front office about his status, but team president Theo Epstein told DeJesus as recently as Tuesday “how much I appreciated his mentorship of younger players.
“This is an established veteran player who goes on a rehab to the Arizona Rookie League and he’s actively taking those 18-year-old kids under his wing, and running in from the outfield because one of them forgot his sunglasses, to get it for him. And running hard, 90 feet down to first base to show those kids what it looks like when a big leaguer plays the game the right way. That’s really impressive.
“It has nothing to do with whether he’ll be traded or not, but I wanted to thank him for that.”
There’s also this: DeJesus is a productive, defensively versatile, left-handed hitter “who has the exact approach we’re trying to teach in the organization. So there’s a lot of value to having him here,” Epstein said.
“That said, are we going to make him untouchable? No. No one’s untouchable.”
Alfonso Soriano smiled when asked about the likelihood of being replaced in left by torrid rookie Junior Lake if a trade to the Yankees gets done. “I seen Junior like me [early in his career],” said Soriano, also a converted infielder. “I hope he can have the same career, or better. He’s got the talent. He’s got the power and the speed. And he’s a great kid.”
Lake had two doubles in four at-bats through nine innings Wednesday, raising his batting average to .538.
Sports editor’s note: The Cubs-Diamondbacks game ended too late for this edition. For late scores, go to www.suntimes.com/sports.