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Rizzo laments lack of defensive action at 3B

Cubs first baseman pressed into duty at hot corner vs. Reds
Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo may have felt a little cheated by his half-inning as a Major League third baseman.

"I didn't get any ground balls," Rizzo replied sheepishly on Wednesday when asked about his emergency stint on the hot corner for the Cubs during the ninth inning of Tuesday's 13-9 win over the Reds. "I can't tell you much because I was just standing there."

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CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo may have felt a little cheated by his half-inning as a Major League third baseman.

"I didn't get any ground balls," Rizzo replied sheepishly on Wednesday when asked about his emergency stint on the hot corner for the Cubs during the ninth inning of Tuesday's 13-9 win over the Reds. "I can't tell you much because I was just standing there."

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The first baseman needed to move across the diamond because third baseman Kris Bryant had been hit in the left hand by a pitch during the top of the ninth. The swelling and soreness necessitated Bryant being removed (X-rays were negative), and the only bench player available was catcher Rene Rivera.

Rizzo didn't hesitate when approached by manager Joe Maddon despite a career experience level at the position of "taking ground balls once this year messing around."

"I was like, hey, I can field ground balls and throw," Rizzo said. "Once I got out there ..."

When he got out there, Rizzo became the third left-handed position player to man third base in Cubs history, joining George Decker in 1895 and Jimmy Ryan in 1886. The last left-handed Major League third baseman was Mario Valdez for the 1997 White Sox.

"Everything was in reverse," Rizzo said. "To see [Reds first baseman Joey Votto batting] from the other side ... it was just really weird."

The Reds scored three runs in the ninth, but Rizzo was never challenged by a ground ball. He has also played second base on occasion this year when the Cubs employ a defensive shift. The last left-handed position player to man both second and third base in the same season was Wee Willie Keeler in 1901.

"I need to get out to the outfield to be a true utility guy," Rizzo said.

Worth noting
• Left-hander Jon Lester (shoulder fatigue) played catch from 60 feet on Wednesday and "felt great," according to Maddon. Lester will throw a bullpen session on Friday in Philadelphia. "Throwing off a mound will be a little better indication," Lester said.

• Shortstop Addison Russell (foot strain) will likely need a short Minor League rehabilitation assignment when he recovers, Maddon said.

• Catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring) is recovering "really well," according to Maddon. Contreras was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after being injured on Aug. 11.

Andrew Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo