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Clevenger motivated by reduced playing time

MESA, Ariz. -- Steve Clevenger wasn't real pleased last season when Welington Castillo got more playing time with the Cubs, and used that to motivate him this offseason.

Clevenger had made the Cubs' 25-man roster out of Spring Training one year ago to back up Geovany Soto. Once Soto was traded to the Rangers, Castillo started getting more starts. Did that upset Clevenger?

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"Yeah," he said. "At the same time, [Castillo's] a good player. I know it's a competition. I'm not going to root against anybody. But it did light a fire under my butt a little bit."

Castillo heads into this season as the Cubs' No. 1 catcher and veteran Dioner Navarro is the backup. Clevenger went to work this offseason and followed a program designed by strength coach Tim Buss. He added 15 pounds of "good weight."

"My second year catching, it was the first time I was over 200 [pounds], and I felt like I was too big," Clevenger said. "This year, I stretched every day and did my running. Flexibility is big. When you're going to put on weight, you have to stretch and do your running and everything, and that way you come in feeling good.

"I feel great," he said. "I feel so much stronger and so much better."

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