PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs rank among the top five teams in the Major Leagues in terms of using defensive shifts, and some of the maneuverings were a little strange in the beginning for third baseman Donnie Murphy.
"I've done a lot of shifting before, but I feel like we over-shift a lot here," Murphy said. "It was new at first, but I'm used to it now."
Against the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez, the Cubs have their third baseman move between the second baseman and shortstop.
"That was different," Murphy said. "You think, 'If the ball is hit in the gap, do I sprint to third base?' Once you do it a couple times, it's not new anymore."
What helps Murphy adjust is that he can also play second base.
"It's harder to sell to guys who come over and weren't here in Spring Training when you were introducing it," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Murphy is willing to learn.
"I take a lot of pride in defense," he said. "Not everybody can do it, but as long as you're fundamentally sound, it can get you a long way in this game."
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.