"I told him right after live BP, 'I prefer to play defense for you,'" Baez said.
Alcantara, 23, played second base and center field after he was called up to the Cubs in July, and in three games, he played both positions.
MESA, Ariz. -- With the retirement of singer-songwriter Tim Flannery, the soul of the three-time World Series champion Giants as their third-base coach and so much more, there no longer can be any serious debate. Joe Maddon is "The Most Interesting Man in Baseball." The dude in the popular television commercial can't compare to the real deal.
When the Cubs' brain trust made Maddon an offer he couldn't refuse to manage their youthful team in 2015 and beyond, it was the kind of enlightened thinking he does every day of his life. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who had Maddon as his bench coach with the 2002 World Series champions before the Rays hired him in '06 to manage their floundering outfit out of darkness, calls his buddy "a Renaissance Man," adding, "I can talk about Joe all day.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Juan Pierre, the catalyst of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team and one of the most prolific base-stealers of his generation, has announced his retirement. The 37-year-old speedster is walking away from the game after an impressive 14-year career.
Pierre, who lives in south Florida, is now a self-proclaimed "stay at home dad." He also isn't ready to accept a coaching position at this point.
MESA, Ariz. -- How happy was Javier Baez to see Manny Ramirez in Cubs camp?
"I grabbed Manny's stuff and put everything in my locker and told him he was going to be here with me," Baez said Friday. "The next day, he moved all his stuff back."
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs fans aren't the only ones counting the days until Kris Bryant is promoted to the big leagues. The Major League Baseball Players Association is keeping an eye on the situation, too.
Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, would not comment specifically about Bryant, who is ranked as baseball's No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com.
MESA, Ariz. -- Addison Russell has not had a chance to thank Jason Hammel for being part of the reason the shortstop was traded from the Athletics to the Cubs last July. It should be easy to do and won't even require a phone call. Hammel and Russell now find themselves in the same clubhouse with the Cubs.
Last July 5, Russell was included in the package the A's sent to Chicago for Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs also received outfielder Billy McKinney and pitcher Dan Straily, who was dealt to the Astros in January along with Luis Valbuena for Dexter Fowler. Hammel returned to the Cubs after signing a two-year contract last December.
MESA, Ariz. -- Ernie Banks used to come up with a saying every year for the Cubs. This season, manager Joe Maddon's message has been painted along the first-base line of Field 1 at the Cubs' complex: Respect 90.
Last Dec. 3, Maddon posted the message on his Twitter account @CubsJoeMadd: "Respect 90 ... going to make daily push for our players to respect that distance .. run hard for 90 feet, and the respect will come back to you." It's also on his Twitter profile.
MESA, Ariz. -- Javier Baez, Mike Olt and Jorge Soler will be the first to take some swings against new Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, who is scheduled to throw his first live batting practice session on Friday.
MESA, Ariz. -- When the Cubs traded for Tommy La Stella in November, they told the infielder that he needed to get a new glove.
La Stella has only played second base in the pros, both in the big leagues and the Minor Leagues. On Wednesday, he was taking grounders at third base along with Mike Olt. Acquired from the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino, La Stella was told he may need to be able to do more than play second to make the team.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon is known for refined cultural palate. He used to take the Rays on Woodstock-themed road trips, he's quoted "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and now he's binge-watching "The Office" at Cubs Spring Training.
That last revelation came when Maddon said he felt like Michael Scott when he couldn't remember the team's upcoming scrimmage schedule.
MESA, Ariz. -- The history between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals has been intertwined for more than a century. The legendary Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock trade may be the most notable, but many players have suited up for both clubs. Included in the select group are Bruce Sutter, Dizzy Dean, Dennis Eckersley and Leo Durocher.
Now you can add former Cardinals Jason Motte and Adron Chambers to that list. Chicago signed Motte to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million and gave Chambers a Minor League deal and a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Nick Krueger is a junior journalism student 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.
MESA, Ariz. -- The music was loud Wednesday for the Cubs' first full-squad workout, and included "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. It was time to get to work under new manager Joe Maddon.
"I've always liked music during batting practice," Maddon said. "When you go to complex baseball and you're out in the middle of nowhere and it gets really quiet, crickets and all that kind of stuff, I like when it's really loud."
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts met with the players prior to Wednesday's first full-squad workout and part of his message was to "treat our fans like gold." That's because they've helped Ricketts during the losing seasons.
"We've had some tough seasons and have had to do things the right way and make long-term decisions, and that's cost us games," Ricketts said. "But walking around the ballpark is encouraging. Fans are almost exclusively supportive, and they want to see everything done the right way because we want to get to that World Series and we're not going to do it by making short-term decisions. Frankly, the fans have really helped me get through the bad years, rather than the other way around."
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs didn't need to wrap Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro in bubble wrap Wednesday, the first day the club's batters faced pitching. One can't blame Chicago sports fans for being a little nervous after injuries to Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.
"I'm going to be tip-toeing today," Rizzo jokingly said before Wednesday's workout. "[The injuries are] unfortunate, especially because their season is coming down to the stretch. I'm pretty sure they have enough depth to hold on."
MESA, Ariz. -- Instead of pitching last summer, Daniel Bard rode a bike across Iowa. He then flew to Europe and drove around France, Switzerland and Germany with his wife.
"I said, 'I need a break.' And I took it, and it's the best thing I could've done," Bard said.
MESA, Ariz. -- In early December, Anthony Rizzo was at a restaurant in Florida and saw Sammy Sosa.
"I went over and said hello and introduced myself," Rizzo said. "I tried to campaign for him to come back. I said, 'We'd love to have you.' Nothing crazy.
MESA, Ariz. -- Manny Ramirez was in uniform Wednesday, ready to start his new job as a hitting consultant with the Cubs. But he didn't rule out possibly playing baseball again.
Has Ramirez retired? He laughed.
MESA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro is prepared to carry the Cubs on his back. The shortstop literally did just that in preparation for the season.
One of the drills strength coach Tim Buss had Castro do to strengthen his legs was carry 210-pound teammate Mike Olt on his back, and run forward and backward.
MESA, Ariz. -- Theo Epstein remembers attempts at conversations with players about improving the mental side of the game.
"If you approached a player to talk to them about working on his mental game [20 years ago], his response would be, 'You think I'm nuts?'" said Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations. "You still see that now and then, but that's the exception, not the rule."
MESA, Ariz. -- Manny Ramirez is back in the big leagues, hired by the Cubs as a hitting consultant. The Cubs also announced Tuesday they have added Kevin Youkilis as a part-time scouting and player development consultant.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Ramirez will spend most of Spring Training with the Cubs and is expected to be at Wrigley Field at least once a month during the regular season.
There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye-to-eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.
For a franchise that hasn't won a World Series since 1908 or appeared in one since the end of World War II, the Cubs certainly are creating a lot of goodwill.
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' Spring Training ballpark was officially dedicated as Sloan Park on Tuesday.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts attended the ceremony along with Mesa Mayor John Giles and several city councilmen.
MESA, Ariz. -- Excited about the 2015 season and new Cubs manager Joe Maddon? Cubs single-game tickets go on sale March 6 at 10 a.m. CT.
Tickets will be available on cubs.com or by calling 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).
MESA, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday he expected the investigation into allegations of tampering by the Cubs in the hiring of manager Joe Maddon to be completed before the regular season begins.
Manfred, meeting with the media Monday in Arizona, said they wanted to do a thorough investigation.
Bryant, 23, is confident, but he knows he has to show Maddon and the Cubs he's ready.
MESA, Ariz. -- Back in the 1980s, it was tough for Joe Maddon to convince any of his baseball teammates or coaches that seeing a sports psychologist could be a good thing.
"These guys wanted to know when did [the psychologist] ever play baseball and what right does he have to tell us [things]," Maddon said Monday. "I said, 'You're missing the point. He's going to attempt to help you teach what you know better by going from A to B to C to D and putting it in a more precise order.' It was hard to get that across back in 1984."
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs prospect C.J. Edwards is trying to keep up with his teammates.
"I'm trying to grow a little facial hair," Edwards said. "I still look like a little kid in grade school."