David Bote may be heading back to the minor leagues soon, but the rookie Cubs infielder has displayed some veteran savvy during his stints with the big club this season.
Take Sunday’s 10-inning, 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Bote singled. The Cubs didn’t score that inning, but Bote took care of that in the bottom of the 10th, walking with the bases loaded to force in the winning run.
Instead of panicking in the moment, Bote took pitches with the count 2-2 and 3-2 to draw the walk.
“Great at-bats,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s looked good in the field, great baserunning. He’s done everything well and right.”
Bote, 25, is in his third stint with the Cubs this season. The 18th-round draft pick in 2012 made his major league debut April 21 after six-plus years in the minor leagues, including a breakout season last year at Double-A Tennessee, where he went 272/.353/.438 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs.
This past week featured Bote hitting his first career big-league homer, a drive to center field at Wrigley Field on the Fourth of July.
Bote’s immediate future may hold a return trip to Triple-A Iowa when injured third baseman Kris Bryant comes off the disabled list, but he is making the most of the experience and leaving a record for future reference.
In 18 games heading into Wednesday night’s game at San Francisco, Bote was 10 for 38 with a line of .263/.362/.395 with two doubles, the home run, nine RBIs and seven walks.
Bote said he likes being part of an offense that makes things happen instead of waiting for the home run.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “The quality of at-bats the whole last two weeks has been so exciting. It’s so fun to be a part of it and watch. Everybody’s in the same at-bat. Everybody’s in that at-bat with them. That’s the team mentality of it all.”
Bote is taking something away from it for himself, as well, with all he has accomplished.
“Whatever I can gain from it is so I can help the team win every day, day in and day out, however I can – being ready to go in on a double switch, being able to pinch hit, just being prepared the best I can so that when my number’s called, (I’m ready),” he said. “Every time you face another guy, getting history with another pitcher and starting to see him a couple times, I know that’s going to help, too. Each time you get it, each time you’re in front of the situation, you’re obviously going to learn from your experiences.”
Maddon got his first serious eyeful of Bote in spring training after Bote was added to the 40-man roster. He knows more about the player now.
“He’s really centered,” Maddon said. “He’s got a very mature way about him. He’s a married young man. He carries himself so well. When I have conversations with him, you’re talking to someone a little bit older than his birth certificate indicates. On the field, he plays really calmly with really open eyes. He sees things. Man, I liked him in spring training, but he’s showing us stuff right now that we did not even see in spring training.
“He reminds me a little bit of [veteran Ben Zobris] when I first met Zo.”