ARod-Cubs drama adds another chapter as he and Joe Maddon have 'candid' conversation at Wrigley Field

ARod-Cubs drama adds another chapter as he and Joe Maddon have 'candid' conversation at Wrigley Field

Alex Rodriguez doesn't regret what he said about Yu Darvish last month in St. Louis, but he may soon.

This story will not die, but the good news is — Sunday is the Cubs' final Sunday Night Baseball game for the 2018 season. 

Rodriguez and Joe Maddon had a conversation in the Cubs manager's office before Sunday's tilt against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field and both parties came away feeling "good" and "positive."

"It was very good," Maddon said. "Alex and I had a very nice discussion. I felt good about it. Hopefully he felt equally the same. We talked openly about it.

"Under those circumstances for me, normally it's one of those things that you speak in a candid manner to one another and then you move on from there. I really believe through that conversation, we have a chance to become pretty good friends."

This all started on the Cubs' last ESPN broadcast July 29, when Rodriguez started discussing Yu Darvish's absence due to injury and how it may be perceived negatively in the Cubs clubhouse.

Maddon responded that night and then again later in the week as he called Rodriguez "irresponsible."

Yu Darvish responded to the whole ordeal last week, making a joke that if ARod texted him, he would screenshot it, print it out and frame it as bulletin-board material.

Rodriguez met with Chicago media in the press box at Wrigley Field Sunday, but spent less than a minute on the matter before scurrying off to a "rehearsal" for the game broadcast.

Here are his comments in their entirety:

"Yeah, we had a brief, very positive conversation," Rodriguez said. "Look, what's great about this is we all have the same interests — to grow the game, to highlight stories as objectively as we can. 

"Obviously you guys are in the [media] business, so you know that better than anyone. And yeah, I thought it was a very positive conversation.

Would he change anything he did or said?

"No, my job is to say it fairly and objectively and I have over 25 years in the game and I'm gonna call it as I see it," Rodriguez said. "We don't always have to agree on everything, but I do have a lot of respect for Joe and obviously the Cubs organization and I have for a long time and that hasn't changed.

"As a matter of fact, before I go to rehearsal, Joe and I have plans to have drinks together. So that's planned! That's in the books!"

As he said those last lines, Rodriguez was already starting to move away from the throng of Chicago media and when he finished, he broke for the door like he was trying to steal second base.

Maddon thought it was a good meeting. ARod felt the same way, apparently, but it's hard to glean any real context from his side of the story when he spent less than a minute addressing the issue.

Either way, both parties seem genuinely interested in leaving this little bit of drama in the past. 

This is an issue that would not have even been possible 10 or 20 years ago, in the days of sports consumption without social media. 

But Rodriguez's comments went viral immediately after he uttered them in St. Louis and the end result was a fiery Cubs response starting immediately after that game.

"For me, it's just about taking care of my group — our group — first," Maddon said. "I've often talked about circling our wagons. It's about what we think first and foremost that matters. Whether it's among the coaches, the clubhouse itself, the ownership, the front office — that's the circle you have to satisfy. 

"And that's to understand and believe that everything is well and right. For me, it's only about that. And anytime you get any kind of an outside noise coming in, it normally is just outside noise. And you gotta be able to parcel it out and understand it and make sense of it and still keep the integrity of the group together. 

"My job, I believe, is to protect my brood, quite frankly. It's no different than being a parent. So if you're gonna attack the group from the outside looking in — [the people that] raised me would have it no other way. So when you speak badly of my group — our group — it brings out the Hazleton in me, pretty much.

"So I responded, very open and candid about my comments, so we had a great conversation about that and that's pretty much where I come from. I think it's hard to argue against that. I would respect anybody having the same opinion about protecting their brood and why. So that's in a nutshell how I feel about it."

Kris Bryant reportedly to get a shot as Cubs leadoff hitter


Kris Bryant reportedly to get a shot as Cubs leadoff hitter

The leadoff spot has been in flux for the Cubs since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 season. A new chapter in that role could soon be coming.

According to multiple reports, Kris Bryant talked about leading off for the Cubs in a meeting with new manager David Ross and it sounds like he will get a chance to do just that.

The Cubs have been creative with the leadoff spot without the lack of a traditional leadoff hitter on the roster. Anthony Rizzo even has 57 games in the leadoff spot in his career.

Bryant has had seven starts at the top of the order. He hit .321/.387/.464 in those games.

What this would do to the rest of the Cubs' lineup is going to be interesting. Bryant primarily batted second or third last year. Putting him at leadoff could separate him from Rizzo and Javy Baez in the middle of the lineup. Ross could also continue to change things up and put Baez or Rizzo second to keep the team's best three hitters back-to-back-to-back in the order.

Ross hasn't even managed a spring training game yet, but this could be his first big change. With the first spring training game coming up on Saturday, we should get a clue as to how Ross plans to send the team out. Suddenly the batting order is something to keep an eye on.

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Kris Bryant still isn't buying Rob Manfred's 'piece of metal' apology

Kris Bryant still isn't buying Rob Manfred's 'piece of metal' apology

Somehow things are still getting worse for Rob Manfred? 

After admitting that the Astros' cheating apology was "not successful" while describing the World Series trophy as a "piece of metal," Manfred spoke again at Cactus League media day, if only because he happens to be in the middle his sport's largest scandal in decades.

He quickly apologized for the comments, and admitted it was just about the sloppiest way he could have phrased a larger rhetorical point. The comments made a lot of players very angry, and it doesn't sound like Manfred's apology did much to move the needle:

This has been the longest week of Rob Manfred's life and it's Wednesday morning.