Cubs em­brace Mad­don’s lat­est shirt

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - BY GOR­DON WITTENMYER Fol­low me on Twit­ter @GDubCub. Email: gwit­ten­myer@sun­times.com Staff Reporter

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.

| GOR­DON WITTENMYER/ SUN- TIMES

Joe Mad­don donned his lat­est T- shirt to the Cubs’ work­out Sun­day. David Ross ( right) and his team­mates also wore it.

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