Cubs call up LeMahieu

Former LSU Tiger promoted to MLB

Monday, May 30, 2011 - 10:47pm

By Carrie Muskat and Alex Ruppenthal / MLB.com

DJ LeMahieu got a call Sunday from Brian Harper, his manager at Double-A Tennessee, saying he was being promoted to Triple-A Iowa. Two hours later, he was fishing on a lake in Tennessee with a couple buddies when he got another call.

This time it was Oneri Fleita, the Cubs' director of player development, who told him there was a change of plans.

"I was like, 'Did I get traded?'" LeMahieu said. "[Fleita] said, 'Have you ever heard of Wrigley Field?'" –off

On Monday, LeMahieu was taking batting practice at Wrigley after being called up to replace Jeff Baker, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a strained groin. Baker injured his groin May 22 in Boston, and shortly after watching him run gingerly to first base on a pinch-hit groundout on Saturday, Cubs manager Mike Quade decided the move had to be made.

LeMahieu, the Cubs' second-round Draft pick in 2009, was batting .358 with 15 doubles, two triples, two homers and 27 RBIs in 50 games with Double-A Tennessee.

"The first thing we've got to do is figure out how to spell his name," Quade joked.

LeMahieu's name is pronounced La-May-Hugh.

The Michigan native said his mother flew from California to Chicago, and his father and grandparents drove from Milwaukee to see him in a big league uniform for the first time.

LeMahieu played second base on LSU's College World Series championship team in 2009. He was LSU's starting shortstop as a freshman, but he has played second and third at Double-A. In May, LeMahieu was hitting .419 with 10 doubles and 16 RBIs in 27 games.

"[He] was red-hot in Double-A," Quade said. "[I] got a look at him in Spring Training -- nice looking player. [He] gives us a right-handed bat and some pretty good defensive versatility with he and Blake [DeWitt] now. We were looking for a guy that can fill in at second and third, even short if need be."

LeMahieu, 22, hit a walk-off homer for the Cubs in Spring Training. Right now, though, he's not a power hitter.

"He's a big kid, and you'd like to think he'll grow into some more power than he's shown, but right now, he's just a line-drive hitter," Quade said.

Quade doesn't know if he'll be able to get LeMahieu a start soon, with Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez already in the infield.

"As much as you'd like to get guys involved, I won't do anything at the expense of three guys that are playing well and that are healthy," Quade said.

LeMahieu said he added 15-20 pounds in the offseason. In the offseason, several players get together in Mesa, Ariz., to work on strength, nutrition and baseball.

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