Cubs' tilt with Reds gets rained out

Cubs' tilt with Reds gets rained out

CINCINNATI -- Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler played dominoes. Anthony Rizzo posted a photo of himself with other 25-and-under teammates: Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Starlin Castro and Soler. Joe Maddon had a little applesauce, some peanuts and a couple of pieces of sushi.

The Cubs had plenty of down time on Saturday at Great American Ball Park, as they waited 4 hours, 13 minutes before the game was postponed because of rain. No makeup date was announced. The Cubs return to Cincinnati from July 20-22 and Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon content to bat pitcher in No. 8 slot

Maddon content to bat pitcher in No. 8 slot

CINCINNATI -- So far, Cubs manager Joe Maddon's preference for having the pitcher bat eighth seems to be working, and he plans on sticking with it.

The starting pitcher has batted eighth in each of the Cubs' 17 games this season, and the group is batting .141 collectively. However, where the pitcher bats is not Maddon's concern.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon calls Reds' Hamilton a 'game changer'

Maddon calls Reds' Hamilton a 'game changer'

CINCINNATI -- Billy Hamilton didn't waste any time running on Chicago's Jon Lester. The Cubs weren't surprised. The Reds' center fielder has done that to other pitchers, as well.

"I know the focus is on Jon, but I promise [Hamilton] has done that to other people," manager Joe Maddon said on Saturday. "My biggest concern there is to not permit a big inning, and that's part of the bigger inning."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo's approach at the plate impresses Maddon

Rizzo's approach at the plate impresses Maddon

CINCINNATI -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo began the day leading the Majors with a .493 on-base percentage, and manager Joe Maddon is happy with the first baseman's approach at the plate.

"If you want to teach a young left-handed hitter how to break the shift, watch what [Rizzo is] doing now," Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta out to deliver a series win over the Reds

Arrieta out to deliver a series win over the Reds

After sitting through a rain delay that lasted more than four hours on Saturday, the Cubs and Reds will meet for the series finale on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. The forecast, which was dismal for the first two games of the series, is much better for the last one. Sunny skies are expected on Sunday, with temperatures expected to reach the lower 60s.

Nothing changed in terms of the pitching matchup. Two starters that have had very good starts to the season -- the Reds' Anthony DeSclafani and the Cubs' Jake Arrieta -- will simply make their Saturday starts on Sunday.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ozzie, Rickey, Jenkins and Tiant enter Hall of Game

Talented class of players embody passion of Negro Leagues

Ozzie, Rickey, Jenkins and Tiant enter Hall of Game

KANSAS CITY -- Ozzie Smith's patented backflip was the perfect maneuver to help him stick the landing in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's "Hall of Game" class of 2015.

Now in its second year, the Hall of Game is for former Major League players who not only did great things on the field, but also exhibited the flair and passion reminiscent of the Negro Leagues players. Joining Smith on Saturday in the Hall of Game induction class were Rickey Henderson, Ferguson Jenkins and Luis Tiant.

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

Herrera proves he's ready for anything with go-ahead single

Manager Maddon admires utility player's professionalism, upbeat attitude

Herrera proves he's ready for anything with go-ahead single

CINCINNATI -- This spring, manager Joe Maddon wasn't quite sure what to expect from Jonathan Herrera, and he's discovering that the utility player is ready for anything.

In his first at-bat of the game, Herrera delivered a tie-breaking RBI single to highlight the Cubs' four-run 11th in a 7-3 come-from-behind win over the Reds on Friday night.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester improves, strikes out 10 against Reds

Despite no-decision, lefty pitches best outing this season

Lester improves, strikes out 10 against Reds

CINCINNATI -- Jon Lester has had to do a crash course on the National League, and on Friday, his studying skills paid off.

The Cubs lefty did not get a decision in the 7-3, 11-inning win over the Reds, but he had his best outing to date, striking out a season-high 10 batters over six innings.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera drives in go-ahead run as Cubs win in 11th

Herrera drives in go-ahead run as Cubs win in 11th

CINCINNATI -- A four-run top of the 11th inning gave the Cubs a 7-3 victory over the Reds on Friday, their fifth game won in their final at-bat in 16 games overall. Jonathan Herrera delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI single.

It was a 3-3 game in the top of the 11th when struggling Reds reliever Burke Badenhop gave up three straight one-out singles. Anthony Rizzo started the rally with a lined single to center field that was stopped on the short-hop by a diving Billy Hamilton. Kris Bryant followed with a single up the middle before Herrera, who entered the game defensively in the ninth inning, came through with a lined RBI single to right field.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell makes diving stop to throw out speedster Hamilton

Rookie infielder also turns double play in fourth big league game

Russell makes diving stop to throw out speedster Hamilton

CINCINNATI -- Cubs infielder Addison Russell may have only been playing his fourth big league game, but he was well aware of how fast the Reds' Billy Hamilton is.

Hamilton was 2-for-2 with three stolen bases in his first two at-bats Friday against the Cubs, and he led off the fifth with a grounder toward right-center. Russell dove to his right, snared the ball, and got to his feet in time to throw Hamilton out at first.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs appreciate Denorfia's highlight-reel catch

Despite resulting gash in knee, left fielder happy to 'lay it all out there'

Cubs appreciate Denorfia's highlight-reel catch

CINCINNATI -- Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia had a nice cut on his right knee and appreciation from his teammates as souvenirs from his diving catch on Thursday night at PNC Park.

Denorfia robbed the Pirates' Andrew Lambo of an extra-base hit with his catch for the second out in the first inning. He landed on the warning track, which caused the gash in his knee.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Homer potential just one dimension of Bryant's game

There's anticipation to see power, but Cubs third baseman has shown even more

Homer potential just one dimension of Bryant's game

PITTSBURGH -- Kris Bryant has been up in the big leagues for a week now, and he's still looking for his first home run -- unless you count that Francisco Cervelli-aided scamper around the basepaths at PNC Park the other night.

But in the course of compiling a 1.035 OPS, four doubles and seven RBIs in seven games, what Bryant has quickly demonstrated is that he's far more than just the home-run hitter he's known and expected to be.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant keeping focus on game, not potential grievance

Bryant keeping focus on game, not potential grievance

CINCINNATI -- Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant said Friday he prefers to stay focused on the field, and not on any potential grievance that the Major League Baseball Players Association may consider filing on his behalf because of the timing of his callup.

"For me, I'm just supposed to play on the field and worry about what I do out there," Bryant said. "I'm not worried about the stuff off the field. I'm here to help the team win now, and I'm having fun with it."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Staked to early lead, Cubs fall to Pirates

Staked to early lead, Cubs fall to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco hit an RBI double in a three-run sixth inning and a tie-breaking RBI single in the seventh to lift the Pirates to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs on Thursday, and split the four-game series.

"Arguably for us, it's one of the best team wins since I've been here with what we had and what we went out there with and how we were able to battle," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo loves Beyonce, prefers New York-style pizza

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Rizzo loves Beyonce, prefers New York-style pizza

You've seen "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," right? Well, what you're about to watch is just like that except instead of comedians, you get me and the Cubs' All-Star first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, driving around the streets of New York. There's also no coffee, unless you brought your own. Sorry. 

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Denorfia leaps into highlight reel with catch

Denorfia leaps into highlight reel with catch

PITTSBURGH -- If Chris Denorfia was tired from Wednesday's late game, he didn't show it in the first inning of Thursday's game against the Pirates.

Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Denorfia made a great running catch on Andrew Lambo's fly ball to left for the second out in the first. Denorfia launched himself for the ball and grabbed it in the air before landing on the warning track.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon wants starters to have extended outings

Maddon wants starters to have extended outings

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Maddon doesn't want to put any pressure on Jon Lester, but the Cubs could sure use a complete game from the left-hander on Friday night.

In the past four games, including Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Pirates, the bullpen has been busy, and Maddon is still trying to figure out roles. Jake Arrieta went seven innings during Monday's series opener, but the next two starters lasted only five innings and Kyle Hendricks went 5 1/3 on Thursday.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Comfortable at third, Bryant makes first start in center

Comfortable at third, Bryant makes first start in center

PITTSBURGH -- Kris Bryant is well aware of the super talented center fielders who have played the game such as Willie Mays and Andrew McCutchen.

"Don't even put me in the same sentence with those guys -- I'm not there," Bryant said, laughing. "Third base is the position I want to get better at. When guys go down, other guys step up, and I'm here to fill that hole when needed and Dexter [Fowler] will be back soon."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon appreciates players stepping up for any role

Maddon appreciates players stepping up for any role

PITTSBURGH -- Third baseman Kris Bryant played center field, catcher Welington Castillo nearly switched to third base, and pitcher Travis Wood, always eager to pinch-hit, was one run away from playing the outfield.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has had to be clever this season, and that trend continued Wednesday night when Bryant made his Major League debut in center for a half inning. On Thursday, Bryant started in center to give Dexter Fowler another day to heal from a tight right groin.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester not worried he's yet to post win with Cubs

Lester not worried he's yet to post win with Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- Jon Lester hasn't been at his best during the month of April in the past, so the left-hander isn't too concerned that he has yet to win in his first three starts with the Cubs.

In his career, Lester is 13-15 with a 4.04 ERA in the first month of the season. This year, he's 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three games, and the southpaw will make his fourth start on Friday against the Reds. It will be a rematch of his April 13 game when he gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jack of all trades: Bryant logs stint in center field

Cubs' top prospect starts there in Thursday's matinee against Pirates

Jack of all trades: Bryant logs stint in center field

PITTSBURGH -- Kris Bryant told Cubs manager Joe Maddon he'd be willing to play anywhere in the big leagues. Any player would say that. But the rookie didn't expect to be in the outfield in his sixth Major League game.

All the focus on the Cubs' top prospect has been on his hitting, but it shifted on Wednesday when Bryant moved from third base to center field in the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. Naturally, he had to make the first play of the inning as Todd Walker flied out to center.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell notches first big league hit

Russell notches first big league hit

PITTSBURGH -- After his Major League debut on Tuesday, Addison Russell said he was eager to get his first hit so he could relax. The Cubs' rookie infielder did just that in his first at-bat Wednesday.

Russell singled to center with one out in the third in his first at-bat for his first of what he hopes will be many more Major League hits.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs unable to cap late rally in chilly Pittsburgh

Cubs unable to cap late rally in chilly Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco smacked a solo home run and Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI double to lift the Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs, who came up short in a comeback bid on a chilly Wednesday night at PNC Park.

Polanco connected in the fifth off Jason Hammel, who took the loss, only the Cubs' fourth in their last 11 games. Vance Worley picked up the win, holding Chicago to one unearned run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fowler day to day with tightness in right groin

Fowler day to day with tightness in right groin

PITTSBURGH -- Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler was pulled from Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Pirates after two innings as a precautionary measure because of tightness in his right groin that he felt after a first-inning infield single.

Fowler, who has started every game for the Cubs, reached on the infield hit and felt some discomfort as he rounded the bag toward second. He stayed in the game and stole second base.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mr. Cub leads voting for club's Franchise Four

Mr. Cub leads voting for club's Franchise Four

PITTSBURGH -- Which four Cubs players best represent the franchise?

In fan balloting of the Franchise Four so far, Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, heads the list followed by Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo and Billy Williams. Fans also can vote for Sammy Sosa or Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins, Gabby Hartnett and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson earning Maddon's trust out of bullpen

Cubs manager rolling with short bench; Rizzo sets club mark for plunkings

Jackson earning Maddon's trust out of bullpen

PITTSBURGH -- Edwin Jackson, moved from the rotation to the bullpen this season, has done well enough that he will be used in tougher situations in games, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday.

Jackson picked up his first win of the season in relief on Tuesday, throwing one inning against the Pirates. He struck out one of the three batters faced.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.