Cubs

Cubs Talk Podcast: Hub Arkush on the 2015 Cubs vs. the 2018 Bears

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Hub Arkush on the 2015 Cubs vs. the 2018 Bears

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan and Pro Football Weekly's (and lifelong Cub fan) Hub Arkush discuss the similarities of the Cubs' 2015 team to the 2018 Bears.

:45 Memories of their first Cubs game

3:30 Discussions with Bears Chairman George McCaskey about being a Cubs fan

4:15 Similarities between 2015 Cubs and 2018 Bears

5:45 Bringing in Joe Maddon vs Matt Nagy

8:00 Trades for Jake Arrieta and Khalil Mack

10:30 Rookies becoming stars: Bryant & Schwarber vs Smith & Miller

12:00 Who does Eddie Jackson compare to on the 2015 Cubs

14:00 Who is the Kyle Hendricks (under the radar) player on the Bears this year?

16:30 What do the Bears have to do this offseason?

18:30 How the Cubs will proceed this offseason

20:30 Chili Davis' comments on how coachable the Cubs players are

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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When Cubs top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay makes it to the majors, he'll already be one step ahead

When Cubs top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay makes it to the majors, he'll already be one step ahead

MESA, Ariz. — Adbert Alzolay hasn't made it to "The Show" just yet, but he's going to be awfully prepared by the time he gets there.

The Cubs' top pitching prospect missed much of last season with a lat injury, shut down after May 29 and managing only 39.2 innings.

Alzolay obviously couldn't throw while he was recovering from the injury, but that didn't stop his development. 

The 23-year-old right-hander was still getting ready for the big leagues — watching video on a bunch of major-league hitters, mainly the guys in the National League Central that the Cubs face most often.

"The first couple weeks [after the injury], it was kinda hard at first, just being here in Arizona [away from most everybody else]," Alzolay said. "But after that, my focus was just getting back to the field to be healthy again. I spent the whole offseason watching video for the teams that we play against in the big leagues. I just watched all those hitters, what they hit in different counts.

"I've been learning a lot. Different types of counts, the pitches and all that I can throw against those hitters in different situations."

The idea came about initially from coaches, but Alzolay took to it immediately, finding a passion in readying himself for the majors even if he couldn't physically get out on a mound.

The lat is fully healthy, though he's currently working through another injury — a slight back tweak after slipping during a bullpen session the week before pitchers and catchers officially reported to Cubs spring training. 

Alzolay said his back is "perfect now, back to normal" and he will throw from flat ground next week before getting back on a mound. In the mean time, he's trying to soak up all he can while talking to big leaguers like Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Willson Contreras.

Alzolay and Contreras are close — both Venezuelan natives during an increasingly difficult time for their home country. The Cubs catcher gave Alzolay one of the Venezuelan flag arm sleeves last spring, which the young pitcher wore proudly in camp a year ago and would considering wearing again if the leagues allow him to.

But first, he's just focused on trying to get to the big leagues.

Like all prospects, Alzolay spends a lot of time daydreaming about what it would be like in Chicago, pitching at a sold-out Wrigley Field. And he has plenty of reason to dream, as he was on the cusp of the majors last summer before he went down to injury. He's also willing to start or relieve, which should improve his chances on getting the call.

He'll have an innings limit this year and the Cubs will be cautious with their prized arm, but the big-league bullpen is filled with plenty of question marks and thus an opening for Alzolay should arrive at some point.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Kyle Hendricks

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Kyle Hendricks

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss the impact a full season of Cole Hamels could have on the rotation and the team. And David Kaplan goes 1-on-1 with Kyle Hendricks. Find out which teammate Hendricks says most enjoys striking out in Spring Training.

00:35 - Tony and Kelly break down the potential impact that Cole Hamels can have on the 2019 club. They discuss Hamels' value as a teammate and a leader, his approach to baseball every day, and what the Cubs expect from him every fifth day.

16:56 - Kap goes 1-on-1 with Kyle Hendricks during a walk around a practice diamond at the Cubs facilities in Mesa. Hendricks discusses his excitement for 2019, how he approaches the buildup to the regular season, and how much fun he has facing teammates during spring training.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: