Dave Sappelt gets the start in center


(Photo by Stephen Green)

Outfielder Dave Sappelt won’t have a starting position when the Cubs kick off their season in Pittsburgh next month. He might not even be involved in the probable right-field platoon. But the 26-year-old could be a mainstay in the outfield for years to come.

When the Cubs dealt reliever Sean Marshall to Cincinnati in December 2011, the organization acquired young, left-handed starter Travis Wood as the focal point of the deal. However, they also acquired Sappelt, a rangy defensive player with some pop in his bat. The best display of his offensive abilities likely came in 2010, when the 5-foot-9 right-hander hit .361/.416/.548 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with nine homers and 62 RBI, earning him the Double-A Southern League MVP. Over five minor league seasons, Sappelt owns a .299 career average.

In 2012, the Cubs gave him a September call-up, and he fared well in the latter months of the season, hitting .275/.351/.449 with a pair of homers in 78 plate appearances. Manager Dale Sveum recently praised the diminutive outfielder’s ability at the plate.

“I’m not too concerned about Sappelt,” Sveum said. “The guy has put himself in that category where he can kind of just hit.”

Sappelt will be starting in center field Tuesday, as the Cubs face the Rockies on the road. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 CST, and the game will be webcast at cubs.com. Colorado will be sending lefty Jeff Francis to the hill. Here is the Cubs full batting order:

CF Dave Sappelt
2B Darwin Barney
C Welington Castillo
RF Scott Hairston
3B Junior Lake
1B Brian Bogusevic
SS Edwin Maysonet
LF Matt Szczur
P Scott Feldman

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