Ben Zobrist is getting another All-Star Break immediately after the MLB All-Star Break.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon is giving his 35-year-old seceond baseman an extended break with days off Sunday and now Monday, too.
Zobrist has played in 85 of the Cubs' 91 games entering Monday and started last week's All-Star Game immediately after the Cubs played 24 games in 24 days prior to the break, so he didn't get much of a chance to rest.
"It's absolutely his All-Star Break," Maddon said. "I've talked about it from the beginning of the season — giving him appropriate time off when it's necessary. He had the two days off post-All-Star Game, but that's still not quite the same.
"Came back, played two games here and I could tell he was still a little bit fatigued. So we talked, told him about [Sunday], just kinda surprised him about [Monday]."
With Thursday's off-day, Maddon and Zobrist agree three days off for the veteran this week should help him feel fresh (or "frisky" to borrow a popular Maddon phrase) down the stretch.
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Zobrist stressed he does not have an injury and confirmed his knees are fine after missing nearly 40 games with knee issues last season.
But he did acknowledge his age is catching up to him a bit.
"You don't need as much [rest] when you're younger," Zobrist said. "You have more energy, you bounce back quicker. After that 24-game stretch, we didn't have much down time. It's taken me longer to bounce back from that than I realized.
"It's always a learning process. The young guys — I try and tell them over time the importance of taking that day. Especially if Joe wants to give you a day off, take it and know that it's gonna pay benefits down the road."
Zobrist mentioned he had that conversation with Rizzo earlier this season about taking time to rest rather than playing day after day after day.
Zobrist and Maddon have been working together for most of the past decade after a long history with the Tampa Bay Rays, so the two have a great line of communication.
But Maddon also used this Zobrist situation as a platform to publicly discuss how he asks all his players for honesty and to try and keep their machismo in check.
"That's all you need as a manager — somebody to be frank and honest with you regarding those moments," Maddon said. "So many times, that testosterone gets in the way and they just don't want to admit to those things.
"So please, tell me. It's better for you, it's better for us. We'll just make our adjustments and I'm good with it. So many times, guys are like raised by wolves, unable to say those kind of things.
"Just tell me, 'I need a break.' 'OK, you got a break. We're good.'"
The Cubs also got good news on the injury front Monday, as they announced outfielders Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler are headed to Triple-A Iowa to rehab their hamstring injuries.
Maddon expects Fowler to be ready by the end of the week while Jorge Soler would likely be on a more extended rehab assignment.