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."

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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.

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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."

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: