The Iowa Cubs first baseman is with his third organization in as many years after starting the previous two seasons with the Red Sox and Padres organizations respectively. But if Monday is any indication, he seems to be settling into his new environment just fine.
The No. 1 Cubs prospect hit two home runs as part of a 3-for-3, three-RBI performance at the plate in a 10-6 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes. His shot to right field in the third inning kick-started a six-run frame, and his longball in the sixth pushed the I-Cubs into double digits.
Rizzo has started the year hitting at a .474 clip (9-for-19) with three home runs and nine RBIs in his first five games.
But the 22-year-old slugger, who accrued a .331 average to go with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs in 93 games for Triple-A Tuscon last year, did dismissed his early hot streak as part of the ebb and the flow of the game.
"It's just one of those days," Rizzo said. "I've been working getting more comfortable in a new atmosphere, and [Monday] was just a product of that."
Rizzo came to the Cubs as part of a trade that sent pitcher Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na to San Diego in exchange for Rizzo and pitcher Zach Cates. It marked the second trade for Rizzo, who had also been dealt to San Diego as part of the swap that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston.
MLB.com's No. 36 prospect acknowledged, however, that his first experience through the trading process has helped him go through it once again.
"It's a definitely a lot easier transition this time, I'll say that," Rizzo said. "You just try to be yourself, play your game and hopefully you can earn the respect of your new teammates that way and maybe make some new friends too. You all have the same goals, so you do what you can to achieve them together and go from there."
Rizzo, who played in 49 games as a late-season callup for the Padres in 2011, entered Cubs Spring Training as a contender for the starting first baseman's job following the offseason departure of Carlos Peña. The job eventually went to 29-year-old Bryan LaHair -- the 2011 Minor League home run king with 38 for Iowa -- meaning Rizzo would have to start his second straight year in the Pacific Coast League.
Rizzo said he "kind of had a feeling" that he would be back in Triple-A to start the season. Although he'll be working diligently to get back to the Majors, the Florida native won't allow himself to set a specific date that he'd like to be back.
"I have zero expectations," Rizzo said. "I'm just trying to be consistent with my at-bats, with my preparation, with whatever I'm doing. I know it sounds cliché, but whatever happens at the big-league level is what's going to happen. It's out of my control."
Chicago's No. 11 prospect Josh Vitters went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Starting pitcher Travis Wood (1-0) pitched six three-run frames and helped his own cause with a third-inning home run.
No. 18 Dodgers prospect Scott Van Slyke smacked a two-RBI double for the Isotopes. Starting hurler John Ely (0-1) allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- in just three innings of work.