Is Josh Vitters still the Chicago Cubs’ third baseman of the future?

“He’s a priority, let’s put it that way,” manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday at PNC Park. “Who knows about (him being the) third baseman of the future, but he’s a priority to develop as that guy.”

That was the original plan when the Cubs made Vitters the third overall pick of the 2007 draft, but he hit .121 after an August call-up last year and was sent back to Triple-A Iowa for more seasoning.

Vitters is hitting .259 with two home runs and seveb RBIs in 54 at-bats for Iowa. Luis Valbuena has stepped into the starting role again at third and is hitting .257 with a .363 on-base percentage. Sveum said Vitters “has got power, can hit a fastball ... but there’s a lot of development left in him.”

Iowa third baseman Ian Stewart, who lost his job in the majors, told cubs.com that president Theo Epstein informed him Vitters is still the heir apparent at his position.

“I talked to Theo, and he was basically telling me that Vitters is the future at third for them,” Stewart said. “I understand that. ... Josh is young and he's a good player and has a lot of talent. That part did not surprise me at all. ... They were letting me know I wasn't going to play a lot here.”