Before Cactus League play commenced, Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson were slated to begin the 2012 season at Triple-A. And even their impressive showing won't reroute them to Chicago, at least not yet.
The Cubs trimmed their Spring Training roster Friday morning, sending, among others, their system's No. 1 and 2 prospects to Minor League camp.
Rizzo, acquired from the San Diego Padres this offseason, batted .364 (12-for-33), smacked two home runs and collected five RBIs in 14 spring games. In 86 innings at first base, he also played error-free defense.
The twice-traded, 22-year-old slugger is blocked in Chicago by 2011 Pacific Coast League MVP Bryan LaHair, the man he'll replace in Iowa next month. LaHair is batting .200 through a dozen spring games.
Jackson, the Cubs' first-round draftee in 2009, faced an uphill battle to join a group of veteran outfielders that includes Marlon Byrd, David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano. The 23-year-old speedster batted .276 (8-for-29) with four extra-base hits, including two longballs, and seven RBIs in 15 spring games. He also played mistake-free defense in 78 innings in the outfield.
"I played as well as expected," Jackson told the Chicago Tribune. "I knocked on the door and I'll keep trying to force their hand."
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewMiLB.