Sappelt can hit a fastball, and other Cubs game-day notes

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DENVER — Dale Sveum likes what he’s seen from Dave Sappelt so far, and he’s putting him in the leadoff spot to get even more of a look in Tuesday’s series opener at Colorado.

“Since he’s been here he’s given us some really good at-bats and shown an ability to hit a fastball and get his walks as well,” Sveum said, “so we’ll stick him in that leadoff spot and see what happens.”

With a decent finish over the final nine days, Sappelt could take the inside track next spring on the Reed Johnson-type role of versatile outfielder and right-handed bat off the bench.

“That’s the kind of player he is,” Sveum said. “The opportunity’s here to show us that he’s got the chance to be that kind of guy, or the guy that if somebody goes down he can fill in for two weeks and play every day.

“The guy’s got hitting ability. He’s got bat speed and can hit a fastball. That’s ahead of the scale right there, just to be able to do that, especially doing it off the bench when you’re going to face velocity.

In other notes, center fielder Brett Jackson (flu) and Luis Valbuena (knee) were on the bench Tuesday, but Sveum said both were available.

Right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, who’s rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is with the team on the trip.

Sveum said he expects the prospect acquired from Atlanta in the Paul Maholm deal to be ready to pitch next spring but go into next season on an innings limit that might be as low as 100.

“I don’t know what the exact number we’re going to end up with, but it’s not going to be a full blowout scale with him next year,” Sveum said. “He’s so young [21], you’re going to baby that situation as much as you can and really get him ready for the next season.”

Vizcaino has begun a throwing program but has not thrown from a mound since his March 20 surgery.

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