Bryant, prospects homer in Cubs' big frame

Bryant, prospects homer in Cubs' big frame

LAS VEGAS -- Chesny Young, Kris Bryant and Ian Happ all homered in the fifth inning on Saturday to spark the Cubs to an 11-7 victory over the Reds in a split-squad game at Cashman Field.

Cincinnati had just tied the game at 2 in the fourth on Arismendy Alcantara's two-run homer before Reds starter Robert Stephenson served up Young's leadoff blast in the fifth and a single to Kyle Schwarber. Bryant and Happ connected off Barrett Astin, who came on in relief, to open an 8-2 lead.

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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.

Yoga keeps Hendricks centered on mound

Yoga keeps Hendricks centered on mound

LAS VEGAS -- In the third inning of Game 7 of the World Series, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks knew he was in a tough spot. The Indians had runners at first and second and had just tied the game, and Hendricks was behind Francisco Lindor, 3-0. All the pitcher had to do was breathe.

"I stepped off for a second and I took a breath," Hendricks said. "I made myself aware of what was happening. I was like, 'This could be the complete momentum shift and it could be over.'

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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.

Heyward homers, Anderson strong vs. Rockies

Heyward homers, Anderson strong vs. Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pitching to be included on the Rockies' season-opening staff, right-hander German Marquez held the Cubs to two runs and struck out six in six innings of a 7-4 victory over the Cubs on Saturday in front of a Rockies Salt River Fields at Talking Stick-record crowd of 13,565.

Marquez, 22, who appeared in six games and made three starts in the Majors late last season, made a statement in the contest for two rotation spots and possibly a long-relief role by holding the Cubs to five scattered hits. Marquez ran his fastball to 97 mph and, at the urging of manager Bud Black, used his curve and slider -- heretofore inconsistent this spring -- to effective results.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant appreciates Las Vegas embracing Cubs

Bryant appreciates Las Vegas embracing Cubs

LAS VEGAS -- Kris Bryant gave his hometown fans a thrill, hitting a two-run homer in a six-run fifth inning in the Cubs' 11-7 victory over the Reds on Saturday at Cashman Field.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player, who launched his fourth homer this spring, said that he's noticed a lot more Cubs caps in town since they won the World Series.

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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.

Lackey sharp over six; Happ hits fourth HR

Lackey sharp over six; Happ hits fourth HR

MESA, Ariz. -- Starters Carlos Carrasco and John Lackey combined to give up just one run over nine innings as the Indians topped the Cubs, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Sloan Park.

Carrasco, who was making his first Cactus League start since March 13 after he was skipped in the rotation with right elbow inflammation, held the Cubs scoreless for three innings.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

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

Schwarber sees first spring action at catcher

Cubs slugger plays 4 innings behind plate in Minors game

Schwarber sees first spring action at catcher

MESA, Ariz. -- Kyle Schwarber got behind the plate and caught four innings in a Minor League game Friday, his first game action at the position all spring.

The Cubs' 24-year-old slugger will log the bulk of his defensive innings in left field this season with Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero handling duties behind the plate, but Schwarber came up through the Minors as a catcher and he still has an affinity for the position.

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

Huey Lewis and Jimmy Kimmel went to the Cubs game

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Huey Lewis and Jimmy Kimmel went to the Cubs game

Legendary singer Huey Lewis seems to be on something of a Spring Training tour.

On Thursday night, Lewis appeared in uniform for the Giants and acted as their first base coach for a contest with the Mariners -- even presenting the evening's lineup card prior to first pitch. 

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T-shirt reminds Cubs of Heyward speech

Maddon sports image of umbrella, raindrops over '8-7'

T-shirt reminds Cubs of Heyward speech

MESA, Ariz. -- On some of Joe Maddon's new T-shirts this year there's a simple image of an umbrella with a couple of raindrops over "8-7." Cubs fans know that's the score from Game 7 of the World Series. The umbrella is a reminder of the 17-minute rain delay when Jason Heyward gave the players a pep talk that helped propel the Cubs to victory.

"[Maddon] told us he wanted to point out two or three things that allowed us to be ourselves throughout the postseason, moments like that one, the moment in [Los Angeles] when [Ben Zobrist] laid down a bunt and things kicked off for us there," Heyward 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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montgomery excited about 'utility pitcher' role

Arrieta says Cubs' rotation stacks up with any club

Montgomery excited about 'utility pitcher' role

MESA, Ariz. -- Mike Montgomery's versatility has made him the Ben Zobrist of the Cubs' pitching staff.

Montgomery came to Spring Training as a candidate for the rotation, but his ability to start and relieve has prompted the team to keep him in the bullpen and name Brett Anderson to the rotation.

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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.

Maddon: Arrieta's not only pitcher who can hit

Manager praises Lester's bunting ability; Cubs have three Olympians

Maddon: Arrieta's not only pitcher who can hit

MESA, Ariz. -- In his first spring at-bat Thursday, Jake Arrieta crushed a 465-foot home run. If he's not pitching that day, Arrieta may be the Cubs pitcher who manager Joe Maddon uses if he needs an extra pinch-hitter.

"He crushed that ball -- that came off hot," Maddon said of Arrieta's monster shot. "He had two strikes also against a really good pitcher [Zack Greinke]. That's what Jake can do during the season. Our pitchers do a nice job at the plate. They're good athletes, they like to hit. I'm not afraid to let them swing. It's not about the bunt all the time with these guys."

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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.

See Jake rake: Arrieta crushes 465-foot HR

See Jake rake: Arrieta crushes 465-foot HR

SCOTTSDALE -- Jake Arrieta led Cubs pitchers with two home runs last season, and got his swing tuned up on Thursday in his first at-bat in an eventual 5-5 tie against the D-backs.

Making his third Cactus League start, Arrieta launched a 1-2 pitch from Arizona's Zack Greinke onto the berm in left-center field leading off the third inning. It was his first at-bat; the Cubs used the designated hitter in Arrieta's previous starts.

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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.

Epstein named the world's greatest leader

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Epstein named the world's greatest leader

Angela Merkel is No. 10. Elon Musk is No. 30. Pope Francis is No. 3. But topping Fortune magazine's list of the world's greatest leaders is (drum roll, please) … Theo Epstein.

That's right -- the Cubs' president of baseball operations beat out multiple heads of state, tech CEOs and even Chance the Rapper.

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Anderson wins spot in Cubs' rotation

Anderson wins spot in Cubs' rotation

MESA, Ariz. -- Not many teams have the luxury of having the Major League's ERA leader as their No. 5 starter, but the Cubs can do just that.

On Thursday, manager Joe Maddon announced Brett Anderson had won a spot in the Cubs' rotation, but will be inserted into the fourth spot while Kyle Hendricks, who led the Majors last year with a 2.13 ERA, will be fifth. The Cubs will open the season with Jon Lester starting on Opening Day followed by Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Anderson and Hendricks.

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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.

Arrieta, La Stella highlight offense vs. D-backs

Arrieta, La Stella highlight offense vs. D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Arrieta's 465-foot homer off Zack Greinke may have stolen the show, but the pair of pitchers also put on a pretty good display on the mound in a game that ended in a 5-5 tie in front of a record crowd of 14,002 at Salt River Fields.

The D-backs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Brandon Drury singled with two outs and Jake Lamb followed with a home run to left-center.

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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.

Candelario among six sent down by Cubs

Candelario among six sent down by Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs released pitcher Jim Henderson on Thursday, and optioned Jake Buchanan, Alec Mills and Jeimer Candelario to Triple-A Iowa. Williams Perez, Dylan Floro and David Rollins also were assigned to Minor League camp, trimming the number of players in camp to 36.

Henderson, 34, had played for Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic, and appeared in five games in relief for the Cubs.

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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.

Bryant gets a chance to rest before season

Bryant gets a chance to rest before season

MESA, Ariz. -- For the first time since he moved into his new house in Las Vegas in January, Kris Bryant will have a chance to sit by the pool.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner got permission to go home Thursday night and spend some extra time in his hometown before the regular season begins. The Cubs third baseman will take part in the weekend split-squad games in Las Vegas against the Reds. He was looking forward to sleeping in his own bed, which is one of the few pieces of furniture he has.

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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.

Schwarber hits long ball in rain-shortened game

Schwarber hits long ball in rain-shortened game

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber and Reds outfielder Adam Duvall each hit two-run homers in a Cactus League matchup between the National League Central rivals on Wednesday night at Goodyear Ballpark. The Reds won the weather-shortened game, 5-2, which was called in the bottom of the fifth after a downpour.

Schwarber launched his third homer of the spring to right field in the fifth inning. Duvall's blast, also his third of the spring, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Battery mate: Lester builds trust with Contreras

Battery mate: Lester builds trust with Contreras

MESA, Ariz. -- Last year, Jon Lester seemed more comfortable with the Cubs. It was the left-hander's second year of his six-year, $155 million contract, and he had his former Red Sox teammate John Lackey on the squad. Lester finished 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and second in the National League Cy Young balloting.

Oh, and he won his third World Series championship.

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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 among All-Classic Team standouts

Along with Hosmer, pair selected unanimously to field of 12 honorees

Baez among All-Classic Team standouts

Following a thrilling World Baseball Classic that culminated in the United States winning its first title thanks to Wednesday's 8-0 win over Puerto Rico, World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) announced the All-World Baseball Classic Team.

From the champions, tournament Most Valuable Player Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays (2.35 ERA, six-plus scoreless innings in final), Eric Hosmer of the Royals (unanimous choice) and Christian Yelich of the Marlins were selected. Stroman, as WBC 2017 MVP, joined Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka ('06 and '09) and the Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano ('13) as MVPs in Classic history.

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

Green remembered as 'quintessential baseball man'

Green remembered as 'quintessential baseball man'

MESA, Ariz. -- When the Tribune Co. hired Dallas Green after the 1981 season to be the Cubs' executive vice president and general manager, Green had the same expectations that the current front office had when it took over. Green wanted to build a strong farm system, acquire some key players to augment that, and win a World Series.

Green did build a Cubs team that reached the postseason in 1984, a first for the franchise since 1945, but never got to the World Series. A true baseball man, Green died Wednesday at the age of 82.

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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.

Maddon sees growth in Baez during Classic

Maddon sees growth in Baez during Classic

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn't surprised by the success Javier Baez had playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

"He's playing full throttle -- which he did at the end of last year," Maddon said Wednesday of Baez, who started at second base in Puerto Rico's 8-0 loss to Team USA in the championship game at Dodger Stadium.

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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.

Green's candor, passion leave lasting impact

Green's candor, passion leave lasting impact

Nobody in the game rode taller in the saddle than Dallas Green. Not 6-foot-7 Frank Howard nor 6-foot-11 Jon Rauch. Green was baseball's John Wayne, so upright and rigid and with such a commanding voice. Whatever he lacked vertically -- and he didn't lack much -- was inconsequential. Green compensated for it with stature that was visible, audible and quite palpable. He had presence that commanded recognition and a voice that could fill -- and oftentimes did -- Veterans, Yankee and Shea Stadiums. They didn't call him Big D for his defense. Perhaps it stood for decibels.

Few who were part of the game in the past half-century cut so distinctive a figure as the man who managed the Phillies, Yankees and Mets and was the Cubs' general manager -- all in an 18-year period. He was Dashing Dallas -- silver-haired, 6-foot-5, so vertical. He had a penchant for bright clothing and was readily recognizable from a distance. His volume made him conspicuous from a greater distance. The late Phils coach John Vukovich, one of Green's great pals, once said: "Light travels faster than sound, but not with Big D. You usually hear him before he gets where he's going."

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Marty Noble is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baez's otherworldly play nabs Dutch runner at plate

Puerto Rico second baseman's throw, tracked at nearly 90 mph by Statcast, prevents go-ahead run in semifinal win

Baez's otherworldly play nabs Dutch runner at plate

The strong arm of Javier Baez saved a crucial run for Puerto Rico on Monday night, helping lift his team to a 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Netherlands in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium.

Puerto Rico advances to the final on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.TV. It will face the winner of Tuesday's semifinal between the U.S. and Japan, which also will be at 9 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.TV. If the Puerto Ricans face the Americans, they would be the home team. If they Japanese reach the final, a coin flip would determine the home team.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Faith prepared Hannemann for baseball's challenges

In Cubs' system, outfielder catching up after devoting 2 years to mission

Faith prepared Hannemann for baseball's challenges

MESA, Ariz. -- Jacob Hannemann had a decision to make: Play baseball or fulfill a two-year Mormon mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Little Rock, Ark. He chose the latter.

"I got drafted out of high school [by the Royals], so I was like, 'Shoot, [missionary work in] Arkansas, or go play baseball,'" Hannemann said. "I prayed about it, and felt good about going on the mission."

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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.

Jay anxiously awaits return to Cubs-Cards rivalry

Jay anxiously awaits return to Cubs-Cards rivalry

MESA, Ariz. -- Jon Jay loved those moments at Wrigley Field. In the six seasons Jay wore St. Louis Cardinals red, the center fielder always looked forward to his team's trips up Interstate 55 to Chicago.

As Jay stepped out from the dugout for batting practice at Wrigley Field, it didn't take long for the Cubs' faithful to welcome their visitor.

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Fabian Ardaya is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Szczur keeping it light while playing hard

Outfielder competing for spot on Cubs' roster, but having fun during process

Szczur keeping it light while playing hard

MESA, Ariz. -- Kyle Hendricks and Matt Szczur have played together in the Minors, and for the past three seasons on the Cubs. Hendricks has seen noticeable improvements by the outfielder, who is battling for a roster spot on the Cubs again this spring.

"He's a complete player," Hendricks said of the right-handed hitter. "Fielding, running, hitting -- laying down that bunt [against the Rockies] -- every facet of the game, he's gotten better and better every year. Hitting for power has come along more."

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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.