PITTSBURGH -- There will be a day soon when the likes of Javier Baez and Kris Bryant receive overwhelming receptions at Wrigley Field the same as Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco received in his major league debut Tuesday night.
But Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who made his ballyhooed debut three years, one day ago and observed the potential of Baez and Bryant in spring training, isn't overly eager to see his future teammates promoted to the majors too soon based only on their recent minor league success.
"I like what we have here," Rizzo said before helping lead the Cubs to a 7-3 victory at PNC Park. "And it's about what we have here. Whatever guys are doing in the minor leagues, it's great. It's not easy to do what some of the guys are doing because it is the minors and you're playing in front of 1,000 people, if that, every day.
"I like (right now) what we continue to develop on this team."
Rizzo stole the hype from Polanco with a two-run homer in the first inning off Francisco Liriano and two doubles. He raised his batting average to .341 against left-handers with 15 RBIs.
"At any level, this is the best I've ever felt (against left-handers)," Rizzo said.
Darwin Barney raised his batting average to .200 with an RBI double, and Luis Valbuena snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run, pinch-hit double in the sixth.
These contributions temporarily quelled the recent calls from fans to promote Bryant, who leads the Double-A Southern League with a .357 batting average and 22 home runs, to the majors without a pit stop at Triple-A Iowa, where Baez plays.
"I want to see Bryant when he's ready to be seen," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said before the Cubs (26-36) improved to 11-22 on the road. "I get all of that (hype), but I'm not going to base our thinking on what other people are doing. We have to do what we think is right for us and all the guys moving forward, and right now we're happy with them moving forward (in the minors)."
Polanco, 22, the Pirates' top prospect, received an ovation from many of the 31,567 fans before his first at-bat. Polanco singled in his second major league at-bat against Travis Wood that preceded Andrew McCutchen's two-run, game-tying home run in the third. Polanco went 1-for-5 and struck out in the ninth against Neil Ramirez.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is fully aware of the expectations placed on a young prospect since his rookie season in 2010. He acknowledged the talents of Polanco ("he has everything") but cautioned it's best for any hyped prospect not to feel an obligation to try to carry his teammates.
"Just because you're one of the younger guys on the team doesn't mean you have to do anything different," said Castro, who hit an RBI single to cap a two-run seventh. "I try to do what the guys who have been in the game longer tell me to do. Just be quiet, show up and play baseball."
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