Levine: Olt Ready To Challenge For Hot Corner Job
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By Bruce Levine-
MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — The progress of Mike Olt has been eye opening over the past week in Cubs camp. Olt, who was the number one prospect in the Texas Rangers system two years ago, has come back strong from concussion syndrome problems this spring. Olt is trying to get over one more hurdle in the last two weeks of spring training.
Traded to the Cubs on July 22, 2013, Olt must prove his right shoulder is sound in order to take a toe hold of the third base position.
“I have always had this,” said Olt. “It seems every spring I have had an arm problem. It usually just hampers me early than goes away.”
Olt must prove he can throw from third in order to make the 25 man roster two weeks from now. He hit three long home runs last week playing at first base and DH and that opened some eyes on the Cub staff.
“I am not really focusing on what spot I will have,” Olt said “My main focus is to get my arm healthy. I am not going to be able to compete for any spot unless my arm is 100 percent.”
Cub manager Rick Renteria said that Olt is starting to take ground balls at third base and may get into a game soon at the position. The Cubs would love to see Olt get 500 at bats at third base, while Kris Bryant hones his defensive skills in the minor leagues this summer.
“I think when you get to this level everyone has the ability to play,” Olt said. “At that point it is about staying healthy. I am doing everything it takes to get back.”
Olt had an excellent season in 2012, hitting 28 home runs and driving in 82 runs before a late season promotion to the majors. A winter ball collision caused a concussion and altered his 2013 season. The 25-year-old infielder has gotten past the problem that caused dizziness and disorientation.
“It is all about the daily grind now,” he said. “It all took time, this will help me stay even keeled and excel.”