Cubs outfielders pride themselves on defense

Cubs outfielders pride themselves on defense

Cubs outfielders pride themselves on defense
CHICAGO -- Cubs outfielders made two defensive plays Friday that won't show up in the boxscore, but definitely helped them beat the Marlins.

In the Marlins' eighth with a runner at first, pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs singled into the gap in left center and Reed Johnson fired to second to hold Dobbs to a single. Neither Dobbs nor the other runner scored. In the ninth, Marlon Byrd threw out Hanley Ramirez as he tried to stretch a single into a double. The Cubs won, 2-1.

Byrd and Johnson take pride in their defensive play, even if it is unnoticed.

"A lot of the game over the years is geared toward offense," Johnson said. "Obviously, driving in runs and hitting home runs have taken over as important. But people in the clubhouse noticed [those plays], and diehard baseball fans will notice that. The average fan who turns on the TV and watches a game once a week wants to see RBIs and home runs."

The two outfielders were playing "no doubles," so they were a little deeper on defense.

"We didn't want the tying run to get to second base," Johnson said. "Marlon might not be able to cut that ball off if he's playing normal depth."

Someday, Johnson said, a defensive-minded player will get more recognition.

"I guess when your agent fights for you in the offseason, he's not arguing with the general manager about how many double plays you kept in order," Johnson said. "It's all about how many home runs, and what you've done offensively. In the outfield, defense doesn't play a part even in offeseason free-agent salaries. I think it should.

"If you can create runs offensively, that's great, but if you can cut other teams down from scoring runs, that will help, and that's what teams should be concerned about."