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Anthony Rizzo embraces role as Cubs' cornerstone

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo isn't shying away from his prominent role in the franchise's future.

David Banks - Getty Images

The 2012 Cubs season wasn't very much fun to watch, but it could be important in the long run for the franchise due to the emergence of first baseman Anthony Rizzo as a major building block for the future. Rizzo played in 87 games for the Cubs in 2012, and hit .285 with 15 home runs and 48 runs batted in, a dramatic improvement over his production in 2011 for the Padres. Aside from walking the walk on the field, Rizzo seems to be talking the talk too, according to CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney:

"It's just one of those things where I'm going to try to lead by example and have fun and back up my teammates," Rizzo said, "whether it’s someone making a bad throw that I should have caught, or making a good play behind them, or getting that big hit. (We) just got to go from there and build chemistry with everyone. We’re all pretty young, so all our relationships are growing. That's the biggest thing: We all got to pull for each other."

Cubs general manager Theo Epstein is also confident that Rizzo will be a major part of the Cubs' future:

"With what he did in Triple-A, and how he continued it in the big-league level, and the way he handled himself, and how well-rounded his game is, and the leadership role that he started to take, I think we can now say he’s in our core."