Renteria looks to utilize designated hitter slot

Cubs manager points to advantage in playing Interleague games in AL parks

Renteria looks to utilize designated hitter slot

TORONTO -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he prefers the National League game, but he was looking forward to exercising his ability to use a designated hitter in the Cubs' Interleague series on the Rogers Centre turf against the Blue Jays this week.

"As far as the DH slot, for us, it allows the potential to maybe leave a pitcher in a little longer instead of having a potential key situation in which his spot in the lineup rolls around and I have to pinch-hit for him," he said. "If he's throwing well, maybe I can let him continue to pitch, and we have other position players who can obviously swing the bat."

Luis Valbuena was penciled in to the DH slot for the series opener and went 0-for-3. Entering play Monday, Cubs' DHs were batting .280 with 24 homers and 91 RBI in 133 games at American League fields.

Renteria said some Cubs players were out fielding grounders earlier than usual in an attempt to adjust to the ball hops and the speed of the turf. Monday's opener marked the first time since mid-June, 2008, that the Cubs have visited Toronto.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.