MESA, Ariz. - It didn't take long for Ben Zobrist to fit in with this Cubs team.
Zobrist is apparently something of a master at blending seamlessly into a clubhouse.
Cubs position players haven't even had their first official workout yet and Addison Russell and Zobrist are already firing on all cylinders up the middle.
"We got out there [Monday] and took some ground balls and it was almost like a match made in heaven," Russell said. "Our feeds were perfect to each other without even talking to each other beforehand about the feeds.
"That's always a good sign where his mindset is on covering second base and how he turns double plays is right up my alley, too.
"He just kinda has this swagger about him that I could relate to. It's really easy to turn that whenever you're on that same page."
To be clear, Russell wasn't taking a shot at Starlin Castro or anything like that, just simply talking up Zobrist.
Joe Maddon thinks Zobrist will make a big impact on Russell, not necessarily with technique or anything, but more as just a calming presence.
Right now, Zobrist is penciled in to play second base with Russell at shortstop.
But Zobrist has made a career out of moving around the diamond under Maddon and Russell actually wants to stay versatile, too.
Russell admitted it might be a little bit easier to just stick at his natural position of shortstop this year instead of worrying about switching positions to second base, as he did last year when he was first called up to the majors. But he also wants to make sure he stays sharp on the other side of the infield.
"I want to go to the second base side and play a little bit so I don't get too dusty over there," Russell said. "Just having something in my back pocket is more beneficial for me."
Will he play some second base still? In Zobrist and Javy Baez, the Cubs do have several options at shortstop beyond Russell, who said he was actually "looking forward" to playing some second base.
But Maddon and the Cubs don't want him to worry about that.
"No, he doesn't need to [play second base this spring]," Maddon said. "I don't anticipate putting him there in a game. If he thought he needed to do that for some type of routine he needed to get done, I would listen to that. But there's really no need to."
Wherever he played last year (86 games at second base, 61 at shortstop), the 22-year-old Russell gave the Cubs a boost with his glove.
According to FanGraphs, Russell tallied 19 defensive runs saved between the two positions - nine at second and 10 at short.
Does that have him thinking Gold Glove?
"That'd be pretty nice," Russell said. "I just want to make the plays. I'll let them judge who wins the Gold Glove, but that would be pretty nice.
"But when it comes down to it, I just wanna make the plays."
Maddon thinks Russell is certainly capable of winning the coveted defensive award.
"No question. A big part of that would be the fact that he makes routine plays so routinely well," Maddon said. "A lot of times, guys that might have a little bit of flair for the dramatic get a lot of publicity. Although, he has that.
"I just really like the chrome-less kinda infielder that's very basic and boring in a sense that knows how to pick up a ground ball and throw it to first base without any fanfare.
"... When the ball's hit to shortstop, you pretty much know it's an out. You're not holding your breath. You're not waiting for your result. He's that guy. So yes, absolutely a Gold Glove candidate."