In need of a boost, the Chicago Cubs’ lineup should get two key additions this week.
Chicago acquired Lawton at Sunday’s trading deadline from Pittsburgh for outfielder Jody Gerut. Lawton could immediately help a lineup which has been lacking a quality leadoff hitter all season.
“I’ll be going to a contender. You can’t ask for more than that,” said Lawton, whose .382 on-base percentage was especially appealing to the Cubs.
The 11-year veteran was hitting .273 for the Pirates with 10 homers, 44 RBIs, 53 runs and 16 stolen bases in 101 games.
“We’ve been doing whatever we can to shore ourselves up,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “Matt’s had some pretty good years and we hope he can come over here and rejuvenate our offense.”
Baker’s team scored just 21 runs while going 3-4 on its homestand, capped by Sunday’s 13-6 loss to Arizona.
Though Sunday marked the first time on the homestand they scored more than four runs, the Cubs remained four games behind Houston in the race for the NL wild card.
Chicago is also close to welcoming back shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who plans to join the team for this weekend’s series against the New York Mets. He underwent surgery after rupturing a tendon in his groin in late April.
Garciaparra was encouraged after going 1-for-2 with a walk Sunday for the Cubs’ Double-A team.
“The best thing so far is I’m moving instinctively out on the field and not worrying about the injury,” he said.
Philadelphia is 1 1/2 games ahead of Chicago in the wild-card chase, but failed to make any moves at the trade deadline. The Phillies supposedly were in the market for a left-handed starter to join a rotation filled with five right-handers.
“I don’t think we walked away from anything that we will regret,” general manager Ed Wade said.
The Phillies are returning home after a 3-4 road trip. They lost three straight in Houston before winning the first three games of their series in Colorado. They completed the trip with a 9-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday.