Cahill happy with decision to return
MESA, Ariz.— Right-hander Trevor Cahill found a comfort zone with the Cubs last season and had personal motivation for wanting to return as a free agent and train near his home in the Phoenix area, where his wife gave birth last month.
But that two-year offer he reportedly turned down to take a one-year, $4.25 million deal with the Cubs? Like most of the hype surrounding this team this spring, it’s a little exaggerated. Two-year deal? ‘‘Not that I’m aware of,’’ said Cahill, who made his spring debut Saturday with two scoreless innings in a start against the Reds. ‘‘Some of that stuff wasn’t entirely accurate.’’
The National League Central rival Pirates did make him an offer similar to the Cubs’ offer, with the added assurance he would be part of their starting rotation. But Cahill, a former All-Star, said almost every other factor he could think of led him back to Chicago, where he said the success he found in the Cubs’ bullpen after his release from the Braves last season was no accident.
‘‘I was just like: ‘If I’m comfortable and I have at least a chance to start, then if I’m going to pitch good enough to start, I’ll start,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘If not, I’ll be in the bullpen, where I was comfortable last year.
‘‘I think last year I pitched good just because I had fun and was comfortable. I felt like [returning] would just give me the best chance to succeed.’’
Montero off to fast start
With five hits in his first five spring at-bats, catcher Miguel Montero has the early lead for the Cactus League batting title. The winner gets an iPad.
‘‘Oh, really?’’ Montero said, quickly dismissing the idea. ‘‘Cactus League doesn’t mean anything.’’
Besides, he already has two iPads, Montero said. What he rather would have are a few opposite-field singles in his back pocket at the end of camp.
‘‘I really don’t want to get those bloopers right now,’’ he said. ‘‘I want to save it for the season.’’
After downplaying the spectacular catch he made on a deep drive to the gap in leftcenter, center-field prospect Albert Almora said: ‘‘It’s hard [to contribute] offensively at times, but I feel like I should be perfect defensively. I’m not happy if I don’t have a perfect season on defense. I know it’s a crazy thing to say, but that’s just the way I am.’’
Manager Joe Maddon’s second annual ‘‘Respect Bald’’ headshaving event to benefit pediatric-cancer research raised $29,000. Maddon, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber were among the Cubs who got bald for the cause.
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Trevor Cahill pitched two scoreless innings Saturday against the Reds.