Cubs

Carrying three catchers comes in handy again for Cubs

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Carrying three catchers comes in handy again for Cubs

This is the benefit of having three catchers on the roster.

In the eighth inning of Thursday's game against the Mets, David Ross stepped out of the batter's box during his at-bat, grabbing at his side. He eventually bunted - with two strikes - and came out of the game.

Miguel Montero had pinch-hit earlier in the eighth inning and replaced Ross in the game (after Ross had come in to replace starting catcher Welington Castillo in the fifth inning).

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At first, it looked as if Ross had suffered a dreaded oblique injury, which have been known to shut down hitters for more than a month.

The Cubs initially called it "abdominal tightness" but Ross said Friday morning he felt fine and didn't expect a stint on the disabled list.

"I don't know exactly what it was. Maybe it released some scar tissue or something. I'm 38, there's no telling what this body's been through," he joked.

"It was just a little tweak and [Cubs manager Joe Maddon] wanted me to bunt, just to make sure I didn't do anything crazy. And then with Miggy having pinch-hit and us out of catchers, Miggy had to go in and catch.

"It was just precautionary and hopefully everything is good. I feel fine this morning."

Ross was insistent it was not an oblique injury, saying the feeling was different.

"It felt a little funny, but I took a couple practice swings and it didn't grab," Ross said. "I pulled an oblique once before in Double-A and know what that feels like. It didn't feel like that.

"It just felt like a little sharp twinge and tightened up just a little bit and then kinda released. I came in, saw the trainer and he felt where it was tight and released it. I think I'm OK."

[ALSO: Cubs still see Soler as a monster in the making]

As for the bunt with two strikes (which rolled foul for a strikeout), Ross laughed it off, saying Maddon was "pretty adament" about the veteran catcher not swinging and risking further injury.

"Whenever that happens, you always think badly immediately," Maddon said. "So I went out there and he didn't think it was that bad when I talked to him. I said, 'You know, regardless, why don't you put down a bunt for a base hit here?' He's actually good at it, even though there were two strikes.

"I did not want him to swing and then unnecessarily do something bad. We made the adjustment because again, there are so many little things moving right there. Montero had just hit. If that had happened back in the dugout and he said soemthing after you had already taken Montero out of the game, [that would have been bad]. That's the beauty of having three catchers."

With the Pirates starting left-hander Jeff Locke on the mound Friday, the right-handed-hitting Castillo got another start behind the dish.

The hope is Ross will be set to regain his usual role as Jon Lester's personal catcher Saturday against Pittsburgh.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

In his first year with the Cubs, Ross is hitting only .192, but he has worked seven walks and clubbed four doubles to boast a .364 on-base percentage and .346 slugging. He's also served as a strong veteran voice in a young clubhouse.

The three-catcher experiment has worked for Maddon and the team so far this season. Cubs catchers have combined for an .853 OPS, tops in the National League and third in baseball.

Joe Maddon states that Bryce Harper on Cubs "not going to happen"

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USA TODAY

Joe Maddon states that Bryce Harper on Cubs "not going to happen"

Per Jesse Rogers of ESPN, after being asked if the Cubs would sign mega-free agent Bryce Harper, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon replied “Not going to happen”.

This retort from Maddon falls in line with the stance that ownership has reportedly taken in the Harper sweepstakes.


The Cubs could no doubt use some help to boost their up-and-down offense but it looks like it won’t come in the form of Harper. As of now, the Phillies still sit as the front-runners for the mega-free agent after reports of a 5-hour meeting between the two side arose

Cubs Talk Podcast: Top story lines for 2019

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Top story lines for 2019

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss the biggest storylines for the Cubs heading into the 2019 season.

01:00 - Predictions for the rest of the 2019 off-season

03:00 - Are the Cubs falling behind in the NL Central?

06:30 - The need for a veteran catcher to play behind Willson Contreras

08:00 - Lack of long-term contracts being handed out this off-season

10:30 - Will Kyle Schwarber reach his potential?

14:45 - What will David Bote's role be in 2019?

17:45 - Will the new coaching staff make a difference in 2019?

21:30 - Where does Ian Happ fit into the Cubs plan

25:00 - Will Joe ever settle on 3 outfielders to get almost all of the playing time?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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