Thursday's scouting report: Cubs at Pirates
Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel's inside look at Thursday's game:
• The Cubs are hyping 1B Anthony Rizzo for the All-Star Game and with good reason. Rizzo has hit 10 HRs since April 30, which ties him with Paul Goldschmidt and Troy Tulowitzki for most in the NL. Over his past 36 games, Rizzo has a .424 OBP and a 1.007 OPS. His overall .406 OBP is fifth best in the league.
• In his past 21 games since May 13, Cubs INF Luis Valbuena is batting .362 with nine doubles, two homers and a 1.023 OPS. His .362 batting average in that span ranks second behind Jonathan Lucroy (.373). Valbuena's .443 OBP since May 13 is second best in the NL behind Yasiel Puig (.459).
Bradenton OF Josh Bell will compete Saturday in the home run derby before the High-A Florida State League All-Star Game. Bell will be among eight sluggers who will take as many hacks as they can in two, eight-minute sessions. Bell, the Pirates' second-round pick in 2011, has hit six HRs in 59 games with Bradenton this season.