Maddon rolling up his sleeves with hands-on style

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • When it comes to working with catchers, Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes to take a hands-on approach. Here he's going over a few details with Miguel Montero..

      When it comes to working with catchers, Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes to take a hands-on approach. Here he's going over a few details with Miguel Montero.. BRUCE MILES | Staff Photographer

  • Cubs manager Joe Maddon go over a few fine points Monday with catcher Miguel Montero at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

      Cubs manager Joe Maddon go over a few fine points Monday with catcher Miguel Montero at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. BRUCE MILES | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/23/2015 7:37 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Joe Maddon is jumping into his work as new Cubs manager.

Maddon took a hands-on approach Monday when it came to working with his catchers during drills.

 

At one point, he walked back and forth between the pitcher's mound and home plate, stopping to talk in the middle with veteran catcher Miguel Montero, whom the Cubs obtained this winter.

"Part of it is I really like the catching component of the game," Maddon said. "I was a catcher. I'll get involved in a lot of stuff, especially this first time through, just putting out my different ideas or thoughts. I feel really good about instructing this game in general, whether it's catching, pitching, baserunning, outfield defense. Probably my least effective teaching would be with one of the infielders.

"But I feel really good about catching, outfield play. I love outfield play. I was a hitting instructor for a long time.

"The biggest thing is you never want to usurp the authority of your department heads, and I don't think I do that. Right now I'm trying to put out there what I think is really important. I talk to the coaches in the morning so they know what I'm going to do."

All in the mind:

Position players will report to the Sloan Park complex Tuesday and hold their first formal workouts Wednesday. Many have been here for some time working out and getting instruction from hitting coach John Mallee.

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Joe Maddon will have mental-skills consultant Ken Ravizza address the position players as they report. Maddon is a big proponent of players using sports psychologists.

"It's more about building routine and being able to stay in the present tense, let go when it's necessary, know how to refocus when things aren't going well," he said. "Breathing. The breath is the anchor.

"The thing I've been trying to have our guys understand, our players, is that it's (using sports psychologists) not a weakness. For too many years, that's been the perception. It always cracked me up, man. It's just a tool or a skill set that maybe you're lacking that can be improved upon."

He said it:

Maddon was asked Monday if he had gotten a a haircut.

"I did," he said. "I don't like it when it gets puffy on the sides. Remember Paulie from the Sopranos? I get into that Paulie mode and it really bothers me. It's whenever I start looking like Paulie that I get a haircut. That's the indicator."

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