Cubs claim catcher Rivera on waivers

Cubs claim catcher Rivera on waivers

CHICAGO -- The Cubs added depth at catcher on Saturday when they claimed Rene Rivera off waivers from the Mets.

Rivera, 34, has played with the Mariners, Twins, Padres, Rays and Mets, and he is a career .215 hitter. But what Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes is the catcher's defense.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs, Arrieta spoil Blue Jays' return to Wrigley

Cubs, Arrieta spoil Blue Jays' return to Wrigley

CHICAGO -- One day after hitting six home runs in a loss, the Cubs needed four run-scoring singles to post a 7-4 Interleague victory on Friday afternoon over the Blue Jays, who were making their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2005.

Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. each singled in one run, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run single and Baez added a two-run homer in the eighth for insurance to back Jake Arrieta, who notched his seventh straight quality start.
 

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baez, Cubs excited for Players Weekend fun

Baez, Cubs excited for Players Weekend fun

PHOENIX -- Most Cubs fans can identify who "Snake," "Addy," "Zorilla," and "Stropy" are on the team. But when the Cubs play the Phillies later this month, fans will be introduced to "El Mago," a.k.a. the magician, Javier Baez.

• Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baez dazzles on both sides of ball

Shortstop slugs 20th homer, makes impressive play in Cubs' win

Baez dazzles on both sides of ball

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez hit his 20th home run and made what seemed like his 20 millionth unbelievable defensive play in the ninth inning to help preserve the Cubs' 7-4 win over the Blue Jays on Friday.

"He's a special talent," Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta said of Baez. "He does things that maybe a handful of guys can do. He makes plays that look near impossible possible and gets big outs for us."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs place Lester on DL with shoulder fatigue

Grimm also sidelined; Zastryzny, Pena recalled from Triple-A Iowa

Cubs place Lester on DL with shoulder fatigue

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester has some fatigue in his left shoulder and simply needs a rest, so the Cubs placed the left-hander on the 10-day disabled list on Friday.

Right-hander Justin Grimm also went on the DL with an infection in his right index finger. In corresponding moves, the club called up lefty Rob Zastryzny and righty Felix Pena from Triple-A Iowa.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montgomery to step up in place of injured Lester

Montgomery to step up in place of injured Lester

CHICAGO -- Mike Montgomery will return to the Cubs' rotation to sub for Jon Lester, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with left shoulder fatigue.

Montgomery was 2-3 with a 5.13 ERA in eight starts in the first half of the season, and he has compiled a 2.57 ERA in 27 relief appearances. The lefty threw 61 pitches over 4 1/3 innings in relief of Lester on Thursday against the Reds. His last start was July 19 against the Braves, and his next start will most likely be Wednesday against the Reds.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs hit 4 HRs in 4th, including 3 in a row

Cubs hit 4 HRs in 4th, including 3 in a row

CHICAGO -- When Joe Maddon went to the mound for a pitching change in the second inning on Thursday, the Cubs' manager had a message for the infielders. The Reds had opened an 8-0 lead at that point.

"I said to the infielders, 'You all need to hit at least one home run,'" Maddon said. "[Anthony] Rizzo is the only guy who did not fulfill the request."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs rally from 9 down, but fall to Reds in finale

Cubs rally from 9 down, but fall to Reds in finale

CHICAGO -- The Cubs belted six home runs, including back-to-back-to-back jacks in the fourth inning, to erase a nine-run deficit, but the Reds reclaimed the lead on rookie Phillip Ervin's tie-breaking, two-run homer in the seventh to secure a crazy 13-10 victory on Thursday at Wrigley Field that split the four-game series.

"When you score 10 runs today and lose, that's difficult to swallow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zo' HBP flap: A sign of the apocalypse?

Mild-mannered vet involved in two ump disputes recently; Schwarber boasts impressive streak

Zo' HBP flap: A sign of the apocalypse?

CHICAGO -- Ben Zobrist may be the most mild-mannered of all the players who manager Joe Maddon has known. So, for Zobrist to get involved in two disputed plays in a short amount of time -- and nearly get ejected -- is rare.

In the ninth inning on Wednesday night against the Reds with the game tied at 6, the Cubs had runners at first and second and nobody out. Zobrist trotted to first because he was hit by a pitch, but first base umpire Chris Conroy said the veteran had shown bunt and fouled the pitch off. Maddon argued the call, and was ejected. Zobrist grounded out to advance the runners and the Cubs scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch by the Reds' Blake Wood.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo's slam, walk-off WP send Cubs past Reds

Rizzo's slam, walk-off WP send Cubs past Reds

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked a grand slam in the first inning and Javier Baez scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in a wild ninth on Wednesday night to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Reds.

With the game tied at 6 in the ninth, Baez doubled to lead off against Wandy Peralta. Pinch-hitter Jon Jay walked, and Ben Zobrist then trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. But first-base umpire Chris Conroy said Zobrist had shown bunt, which prompted an argument from Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected. Zobrist then grounded out, advancing both runners.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wild ninth ends Cubs' way in walk-off win

Wild ninth ends Cubs' way in walk-off win

HICAGO -- Joe Maddon got tired of what he called "playing good in the sandbox," and was ejected in the ninth inning on Wednesday night just before the Cubs tallied the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch for a 7-6 win over the Reds at Wrigley Field.

"That's one of those you need to get thrown out on," Chicago pitcher John Lackey said of the argument. "There's some times when the manager needs to go."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young fan pops the question to Kris Bryant

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Young fan pops the question to Kris Bryant

Here at Cut4, we love witnessing life-long dreams come true. We've told the story of a couple whose love for baseball cards actually saved a life, and who could forget the time a Little Leaguer fulfilled his dream of recording the final out of the season. 

Recently, a young Cubs fan fulfilled her (and many others') dream of proposing to Kris Bryant during a visit with Advocate Health Care.

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Count Bryant among Votto's biggest admirers

Count Bryant among Votto's biggest admirers

CHICAGO -- When the Cubs' Kris Bryant was at first base, he had a chance to chat with his favorite player, the Reds' Joey Votto.

"[Votto] said, 'Your approach looks a lot better this year,'" Bryant said Wednesday. "I said, 'Thank you. I feel a lot better.'

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moreno fans eight for South Bend

Moreno fans eight for South Bend

The White Sox announced on Monday that they were promoting Eloy Jimenez and Zack Collins to Double-A Birmingham. On Wednesday, it was the powerful prospect duo making an immediate impact and pacing the Barons' offense to a 9-4 win over Montgomery in their Southern League debut.

Jimenez, MLB Pipeline's No. 7 overall prospect (White Sox No. 2), homered in his first Double-A at-bat in the first inning, when he hit a 1-1 offering just inside the right-field foul pole to give Birmingham an early lead.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hendricks regains edge with scoreless start

Righty sharp over 6-plus, enjoys rapport with Caratini

Hendricks regains edge with scoreless start

CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks looked more like he did in 2016, which is good news for the Cubs. The right-hander threw six-plus scoreless innings Tuesday night and did not get a decision in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Reds.

"That was more typical of Kyle," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Hendricks, who has been trying to get back on track after being on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right hand. "He had greater velocity, great location, every pitch was working, [threw his] curveball for a strike, threw the four-seamer really well up to 87 [mph]. Everything was right on."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs' bats cooled as Hendricks duels Reds

Cubs' bats cooled as Hendricks duels Reds

CHICAGO -- One day after scoring 15 runs, the Cubs had trouble mustering anything against the Reds and rookie Luis Castillo, who threw six shutout innings in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night. Joey Votto scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Scooter Gennett in the eighth inning and Billy Hamilton added an RBI single in the ninth to help the Reds even the four-game series.

Despite the loss, the Cubs hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the National League Central over the Cardinals and Brewers.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wrigley event champions 'lifestyle of activity'

Wrigley event champions 'lifestyle of activity'

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon has dubbed the current homestand "American Legion Week" and told his players to eliminate much of their usual pregame routine. He wants them to rest up and just go out and play -- like they did when they played in summer leagues as kids.

Fittingly, the Wrigley Field playing surface was taken over late Tuesday morning by a group of about 75 players from local high schools and other youngsters as the Cubs organization hosted a 2017 National PLAY Campaign event.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hatch spins five solid frames for Pelicans

Hatch spins five solid frames for Pelicans

Alex Verdugo's hot streak continued as he hit his sixth homer of the season and drove in three runs in Triple-A Oklahoma City's 9-4 win over Round Rock on Monday night.

The Dodgers' No. 2 prospect (No. 28 overall) got off to a fast start as he doubled home a pair of runs in the second and then hit a solo blast in the fourth before finishing 2-for-3.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo leads Cubs' eruption in romp over Reds

Rizzo leads Cubs' eruption in romp over Reds

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo smacked back-to-back home runs, reliever Mike Montgomery hit his first career double, driving in two runs, and Jon Jay missed hitting for a natural cycle by a home run to power the Cubs to a 15-5 victory Monday night over the Reds at Wrigley Field.

With the win, the Cubs opened a 1 1/2-game lead over the idle Cardinals in the National League Central. This four-game series against the Reds is the beginning of a 13-game stretch for the Cubs against last-place teams.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay falls homer shy of hitting for natural cycle

Cubs OF singles, doubles, triples in order; Williams last Cub to achieve feat in 1966

Jay falls homer shy of hitting for natural cycle

CHICAGO -- Before Jon Jay stepped into the batter's box in the eighth inning against Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, who was doing double duty as a relief pitcher, the Cubs' outfielder got some encouragement from his teammates to complete the cycle.

"Everyone kind of mentioned it -- 'Take a shot, take a shot,'" Jay said of his teammates' advice for his last at-bat. "We got the win, so it's cool."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hoyer: Russell's 'return is not imminent'

Cubs have favorable schedule down stretch, but not overlooking teams; Zobrist scratched with stiff neck

Hoyer: Russell's 'return is not imminent'

CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, is not close to returning, general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday.

"He's coming along slowly," Hoyer said of Russell, who has been sidelined since Aug. 3 with a right foot strain. "As cliche as it is, we'll take it day by day. He's feeling better. A return is not imminent. Hopefully, he just keeps getting better and better and gets on the field."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Contreras out, Bryant getting 'locked in'

Reigning NL MVP 9-for-11 in series; Baez clouts mammoth 3-run HR

With Contreras out, Bryant getting 'locked in'

PHOENIX -- How will the Cubs deal without hot-hitting Willson Contreras in the lineup? Lately, they've turned to Kris Bryant.

Bryant collected three hits in each of the past three games, including a solo home run in Sunday's 7-2 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field. He went 9-for-11 in the series, drew three walks and was hit by a pitch for an .867 on-base percentage.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs thump D-backs, back atop Central alone

Cubs thump D-backs, back atop Central alone

PHOENIX -- Jake Arrieta pitched six quality innings and Javier Baez smacked a three-run homer as the Cubs captured the series with the D-backs and moved a game ahead of the second-place Cardinals with a 7-2 win Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

"We keep an eye on [the standings], especially at this time of year," Arrieta said. "All we can do is play the best we can and try to win that day."

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta cites mechanics for 2nd-half success

After sluggish first half, Cubs righty 4-1 with 2.09 ERA since break

Arrieta cites mechanics for 2nd-half success

PHOENIX -- The key moment on Sunday, Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta said, was in the fifth inning. Rookie catcher Victor Caratini had given Arrieta a heads-up before it began, even though the right-hander was facing the D-backs' 7-8-9 hitters. It didn't help that Arrieta walked both Ketel Marte and Gregor Blanco to start the inning.

"I got a little out of whack there, but was able to adjust and have a nice sixth inning and get a big double play ball," Arrieta said. "For me, at that point, with a one-run lead, that was the turning point of the game."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

American Legion week allows Cubs to rest up

Coming off West Coast trip, players will arrive for games later than usual

American Legion week allows Cubs to rest up

PHOENIX -- Jason Heyward may take a couple of afternoon naps this week. Kris Bryant expects to sleep a little later in the morning. Welcome to American Legion week for the Cubs.

Manager Joe Maddon started the week-long event when he was with the Rays, and it harkens back to the days when players were kids and would just show up at the ballpark and play. It's also a way to counter the dog days of August. The Cubs will treat an American Legion post in the Chicago area to beer and sausages.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester fades in 6th as D-backs hold off Cubs

Lester fades in 6th as D-backs hold off Cubs

PHOENIX -- The D-backs acquired J.D. Martinez prior to the Trade Deadline hoping he would give them a boost against left-handed pitching. Martinez did just that on Saturday, hitting a key RBI double in four-run sixth inning to spark the D-backs to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs and snap a three-game losing streak.

"Overall, it was a nice win for us," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We've been grinding for the past couple of days, and for us to get that type of an effort by the entire team, it was a good feeling."

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant producing through pinkie sprain

Cubs third baseman receiving treatment for injury from July 19

Bryant producing through pinkie sprain

PHOENIX -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes what he's seen of Kris Bryant lately, but it's been a struggle for the third baseman, who is dealing with a sprained little finger on his left hand that won't go away.

"It's brutal," Bryant said about dealing with the injury, which he suffered July 19 in Atlanta sliding into third base. "Every day, it swells up. It's actually kind of annoying to go in the training room every day to do all this work just to feel good. Sometimes, you have to go through that."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Schwarber on right track, focused on winning

World Series hero fixes swing, rebounds from slow 1st half

Schwarber on right track, focused on winning

PHOENIX -- Without the designated hitter at Cleveland last year, the Cubs wouldn't have won the World Series, manager Joe Maddon has freely admitted.

"I don't think so because of the impact Kyle Schwarber had," Madden reiterated before Saturday's game against the D-backs at Chase Field.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.