With Anthony Rizzo on the 10-day disabled list the Chicago Cubs found themselves without a true first baseman on the roster. Looking for a short-term solution at first base, the Cubs turned to Victor Caratini who rose to the occasion.
For the last five seasons when checking the Chicago Cubs starting lineup you could be sure to see Anthony Rizzo penciled in as the starting first baseman. Rizzo has been a staple in the Cubs lineup and has appeared in 140 games or more each season since 2013.
Rizzo’s reliability has been a luxury for the Cubs and because they’ve never needed a backup first baseman on their roster. However, due to a sore back, Rizzo had earned himself a stint on the 10-day disabled list early in the season.
With a temporary void at first base, the Cubs needed to find someone to hold down the fort. In the past, Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist have played first to give Rizzo days off but in a surprise move the Cubs turned to backup catcher Victor Caratini.
Caratini proves he was the right man for the job.
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Caratini was a long shot to make the team out of spring training as many believed Chris Gimenez would be their backup catcher. The Cubs decision to roll with Caratini instead seems to have panned out since he does have experience playing first base.
Last season Caratini appeared at first base in three games and the Cubs worked with him more at first in spring training.
Since April 6, Caratini has started four games at first base and one behind the plate. He has looked good at first during those four games and has not committed an error.
At the plate the switch-hitter has performed well, recording seven hits in 20 at-bats. His biggest game came in a Cubs 13-5 victory over the Pirates in which he went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
Despite Caratini’s success in his brief stint at first base, things should return to normal with Rizzo eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday. Caratini will still remain a key component to the Cubs bench and will continue to play an important role moving forward the rest of the season.