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Homers coming in bunches for Rizzo04/14/2012 12:42 AM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com
Iowa. Texas. Put Anthony Rizzo just about anywhere in the Pacific Coast League and he's liable to tear the cover off the ball.
The Cubs' top prospect slugged two more homers Friday, bringing his total to a Minor League-leading five and powering Iowa to a 6-5 victory over the Round Rock Express.
Well-traveled at the age of 22, Rizzo is 5-for-8 in his last two games and is tied for second in the PCL with 13 RBIs. This was his second two-homer outburst in nine games this season.
"I think last year I only had one multi-homer game and the year before there were a bunch of them," Rizzo said. "Hopefully, there's a bunch more of them this year. It's just hitting with confidence, seeing the ball, not trying to do too much."
Rizzo wasted no time Friday, pulling a 1-1 changeup from Round Rock starter Greg Reynolds (0-1) over the right-field fence to stake Iowa to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Leading off the sixth, he sent Reynolds' first pitch over the same wall to make it 5-2.
The 2007 sixth-round pick is off to another sizzling start after tearing up the PCL a year ago. Despite spending nearly two months in the Majors with the Padres, he batted .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs for Triple-A Tucson. He also got on base at a .404 clip and slugged .652.
This season, MLB.com's No. 36 overall prospect is hitting .400.
"Hitting is basic: See the ball and hit it," Rizzo said. "I know it's a cliché, but it's really what it comes down. Everyone can hit at the higher levels, the difference is just in seeing the ball."
The Florida native spent the spring in the Cubs' Major League camp, where he batted .364 with a pair of homers and five RBIs in 14 games. He had high praise for Chicago manager Dale Sveum and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, whom he had the chance to work with in Arizona.
"They're great guys to talk about with hitting, they've been around a lot of great players," he said. "You just listen to what they have to say, try to implement it."
Coming off that kind of spring and opening on another tear in the PCL could force the Cubs to consider promoting him sooner rather than later. Rizzo is quick to emphasize that he doesn't want to develop tunnel vision when it comes to big league aspirations.
"You just go day by day, you can't really control what's going on in the big leagues. I know that sounds cliché, but it's really true," he said. "When my time comes, it comes."
Rizzo wasn't the only top prospect to have an impact Friday. Brett Jackson, Chicago's No. 2 prospect, hit a seventh-inning homer that ended up being Iowa's decisive run. Catcher Welington Castillo went 3-for-4 with a solo homer to raise his average to .444.