Cubs

Matt Murton hoping for one more shot with Cubs

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Matt Murton hoping for one more shot with Cubs

MESA, Ariz. - Matt Murton wants to be more than just a blast from the past in this Cubs camp.

The 34-year-old outfielder knows the clock will strike midnight on his career soon, but he wants to give it everything he's got before riding off into the sunset.

"The way I look at it in life, you get one shot at things," Murton said. "Your window as a ballplayer is short. I'm at a point now where I'm gonna throw it out there.

"I'm gonna give it what I have and I don't want my baseball career to end without having given this an opportunity. I'm just excited for that."

[RELATED - Cubs believe John Lackey and Jon Lester can bring out the best in each other]

The former top Cubs propsect has history both with this franchise and with Theo Epstein's front office.

After the Boston Red Sox spent a 2003 first-round pick on him, Murton came to the Cubs along with Nomar Garciaparra in the four-team blockbuster on July 31, 2004.

Murton played just 111 games in the minors for the Cubs before getting called up to the big leagues and hitting .321 with a .908 OPS in 51 games in 2005.

Murton hit .294/.362/.448 (.810 OPS) during his four years with the Cubs before he was traded to the Oakland A's in the Rich Harden deal in July 2008.

Now, he's back in Chicago, hoping to make the club as a non-roster invitee. Things have obviously changed quite a bit in the last decade.

"You look around the room and you realize that you're getting older and they're getting younger," Murton laughed. "I still feel great at 34 years old. There's a lot of young talent here.

"Watching from afar, you see how these guys have done - they come up and they've been really successful. All you wanna do is come in this room and give it what you have and to be an asset to this organization.

"I think every player wants to do that. Whoever it may be or whatever their role may be, you want to find a way to get the most out of yourself, to go out there and compete every day and just see what happens."

If Murton seems a bit philosophical, you'll have to forgive him. He's had a lot of time to think about what a return to Major League Baseball might be like.

Murton spent the last six years playing for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, where he said he was the longest-tenured foreign player in franchise history.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Cubs fans!]

He found plenty of success overseas, breaking Ichiro's single-season hits record in 2011 and winning a batting title in 2014.

When he first went to Japan, Murton figured he'd only be there for a year or two and always intended to come back to the U.S. After six years, he knew it was time to move on.

He's seen what Wrigley is like firsthand when the Cubs are competitive and with one last shot at a big-league career, jumped at the opportunity.

"Playing for the Cubs is special," Murton said. "The way the city supports the team, regardless of the ups and downs - but especially when the team is doing well - it's maybe one of the most special places to play.

"For me to come all the way back and for this to be an opportunity to put on a uniform, there's no guarantees, of course, but it's just throwing it out there and see what happens."

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...