Cubs embrace Maddon’s latest shirt
MESA, Ariz.— Apparently, “Embrace the Target” wasn’t enough.
The Cubs embraced a new motto Sunday morning, when new T- shirts showed up at their lockers to wear during workouts. On the front: “Try not to suck,” with an image of manager Joe Maddon’s glasses.
“It’s kind of true,” reliever Justin Grimm said. “It’s, like, just try not to suck.” Just like that. It’s strange that the phrase has taken this long to appear on a T- shirt on a team that leads the majors in T- shirts and slogans.
The phrase isn’t new for this group, especially during games, when catcher David Ross makes it a habit to share the thought with teammates heading to the plate or the mound.
Javy Baez said Maddon inspired him with the thought during their meeting in the manager’s office when Baez was called up from the minors in September.
“He just told me to relax and just enjoy the game,” Baez said. “And then at the end he said, ‘ Try not to suck.’
“I just laughed and said, ‘ OK.’ ”
The debut of the shirts came one day after Maddon’s annual “Respect Bald” head- shaving promotion raised close to $ 30,000 for pediatric- cancer research. The shirts already are available online for $ 29.99 at korkedbaseball.com, with Maddon’s part of the proceeds benefitting charity.
“When we say it in the dugout, we laugh,” Maddon said. “It’s the most positive negative you’ve ever heard in your life.”
And it’s only the beginning. Maddon is working with the T- shirt maker on a line featuring several Maddonisms.
New guy, new role?
Right- hander Adam Warren opened last season as a starter for the Yankees, and after being traded to the Cubs in December, he was told he’d get a chance to start at some point.
With the way the Cubs’ pitching staff is built, that might have to wait.
“I think it’s up in the air,” said Warren, who threw two innings against the Diamondbacks in his debut. “They basically said [ at the start of camp], we can’t tell you what you’re going to do right now, but you could start or you could be in the bullpen.”
Team president Theo Epstein talked about Warren as a starter when he was acquired.
“But this is a special season for this team, so I think we’re just going to see how it plays out,” Warren said. “I don’t mind being in either role. I think they understand that and know that I can bounce back and forth between the two.”
Guess who’s back
The Cubs signed outfielder Ryan Kalish to a minorleague deal. Kalish, who isn’t in big- league camp, played for the Cubs in 2014, when he hit .248 with no homers and five RBI in 57 games.
Joe Maddon donned his latest T- shirt to the Cubs’ workout Sunday. David Ross ( right) and his teammates also wore it.