Without Trea Turner and Miguel Montero, will Nationals run all over Cubs again?


Without Trea Turner and Miguel Montero, will Nationals run all over Cubs again?

Maybe Joe Maddon didn’t quite hear the question from the side of the Wrigley Field interview room or didn’t exactly remember the game off the top of his head. The Cubs manager isn’t a morning person, anyway, and especially before a day game after a night game. But the response still sounded sarcastic, unintentional or not.

“Was that Miggy?” Maddon said Thursday when asked about the seven bases the Washington Nationals stole off Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta on June 27 and if that issue has been fixed. “I’d like to believe (so).”

Here’s the refresher before this weekend’s potential playoff preview against Washington: Already known for his brutal honesty and edgy personality, Montero sealed his fate when he pointed the finger at Arrieta for never giving him a chance to throw someone out. Montero’s rant from inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park went viral after a bad loss and ultimately got him DFA’d and shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays.

[MORE: Cubs ready to challenge Bryce Harper and take on Nationals in potential playoff preview

The next morning, Anthony Rizzo went on his regular WMVP-AM 1000 appearance, labeled Montero as a “selfish player” and said: “We have another catcher (Willson Contreras) that throws everyone out.”     

“Listen, Miggy wore that a little bit,” Maddon said. “It really is a marriage out there. The pitcher and the catcher are responsible for that.”

With the Cubs still nursing a World Series hangover and playing without much of an edge or an identity, Trea Turner put so much pressure on an underachieving team. Turner stole four bases in three innings against Montero/Arrieta, scoring two runs and contributing to the divorce.

Two days later, Pedro Strop’s 96-mph fastball smashed into and fractured Turner’s right wrist. Michael Taylor (10) is now the only other National with more than five stolen bases this season.

At 20 games over .500 and with a double-digit lead in the National League East, Washington doesn’t have to rush Turner, a dynamic talent who has 70 stolen bases in 168 career big-league games and the type of speed that could change a playoff series in October.

 “I think Trea Turner not being involved makes a big difference among what they’re able to do,” Maddon said. “The rest of their guys are more situational-based. That guy’s just a really fast, good base runner. They took advantage of us that day. But I’d like to believe that we’re not going to be in that same position this time.”

Baseball America names Cubs’ Miguel Amaya as breakthrough catching prospect

Baseball America names Cubs’ Miguel Amaya as breakthrough catching prospect

If and when the 2020 baseball season commences, Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya could be in store for a big performance.

Baseball America named Amaya, one of the Cubs top minor leaguers, as its breakthrough catching prospect for 2020.

The Cubs added Amaya to their 40-man roster last November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The 21-year-old is known as a strong defensive catcher who's only getting better at the plate. Last season, he hit .235/.351/.402 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs in 99 games at advanced-A Myrtle Beach.

Amaya was in big league camp this spring before being optioned to Double-A Tennessee on March 10. The Cubs have one of the best catching duos in baseball in Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini, so we won’t see Amaya in the big leagues until 2021 at the earliest.

That doesn’t mean Amaya can't play in the show right now. Cubs manager David Ross had a strong parting message for Amaya upon his way out of camp.

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Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

Two Cubs employees who attended the same March 8 training session have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the team confirmed Sunday.

One is recovering at home; the other hospitalized receiving treatment, the team said.

The seasonal game-day workers informed the team of their conditions in recent days.

“There’s nothing definitive to suggest [the] training may have contributed,” team spokesman Julian Green said, noting nearly three weeks have passed since the annual season staff training session.

But the team has responded “out of an abundance of caution, transparency and responsibility” during this uncertain time, Green added.

The U.S. surgeon general on Friday identified Chicago as a coronavirus “hot spot,” anticipating a wave of new cases.

The Sun-Times first reported the March 23 and 24 positive tests.