Cahill happy with de­ci­sion to re­turn

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - BYGORDONWITTENMYER Staff Reporter

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.’’

Notes

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.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @GDubCub.

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Trevor Cahill pitched two score­less in­nings Satur­day against the Reds.

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