Olt, Kalish, Bonifacio make Cubs roster

The Cubs are leaving camp with 13 position players featuring a versatile roster for first-year manager Rick Renteria. Mike Olt, Ryan Kalisch and Emilio Bonifacio round out the roster as Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer made the announcement on Thursday.

Sorry for the pun but "look out" National League pitchers. With eye problems behind him, Mike Olt has earned a spot on the Cubs' roster and manager Rick Renteria said Olt would start opening day in Pittsburgh if left-hander Francisco Liriano is on the mound.

Considered one of the top prospects in baseball after the 2012 season, Olt's 2013 season was hindered by an eye problem as a tear duct wasn't producing fluid, and it bothered his vision. He finally got the correct drops and put the vision issues to rest. Hoyer gave an early indication of his progress during the Cubs Rookie Development Program in January saying the ball was jumping off his bat and he looked good.

Olt's spring wasn't without some adversity as he developed a stiff throwing shoulder which limited his play to first base and DH. It didn't affect him at the plate as he hit .275/.321/.608 with five homers and led the team with 12 RBI. He made his first start of the spring at third on March 22.

After nearly two years and three surgeries, Ryan Kalish has worked his way back onto a major league roster. Once considered a top prospect in the Red Sox organization, Kalish was signed in the off-season and returned to his old form in Mesa, hitting .275/.370/.300 with a team-high six stolen bases.

Hoyer said both guys played well and did things to make the team. "Olt really showed us a lot this spring and the way he swung the bat was impressive. We loved the way Kalish played all spring great energy, can play all three outfield positions, and give us another left-handed bat."

Claimed on waivers at the a start of camp, Emilio Bonifacio has also made the team. Bonifacio provides the Cubs depth at middle infield and the outfield, and is a legitimate leadoff hitter, something the North Siders lack.

The Cubs sent OF Chris Coghlan to AAA Iowa and IF Ryan Roberts was also assigned to the minors but has decided to opt out of his deal with Cubs and seek a new team.


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