Chicago Cubs go with 15 position players vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs went with a roster of 15 position players and 10 pitchers for Wednesday night's one-game wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta was the starting pitcher for the Cubs. Other starters to make the roster were Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. They were safeguards in case something happened with Arrieta.
The bullpen pitchers were: left-handers Clayton Richard and Travis Wood and right-handers Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Trevor Cahill, Fernando Rodney and Hector Rondon.
Notable names not making the roster among relievers were Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup.
The Cubs went with speedster Quintin Berry among the position players. Catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross were on the roster. Regular infielders Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant were on, as were Tommy La Stella and Javier Baez.
In addition to Berry, the outfielders were Chris Coghlan, Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler, Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson.
The Cubs did not include infielder Jonathan Herrera, who was with the team all year. Outfielder Matt Szczur, who was up and down all year between the Cubs and Class AAA Iowa, also was not on the wild-card roster.
The Cubs took a regular session of batting practice before Wednesday's game, but manager Joe Maddon made it optional again. Since the middle of August, the Cubs have taken only a handful of mandatory on-field batting-practice sessions.
"I like the idea of optional at this particular juncture," Maddon said. "I don't want to say it was mandatory. I don't know if anybody did it (during Tuesday's workout) or not. Whatever the guys want to do. I'd rather you take groundballs and throw to targets, things like that. That's what I like the pregame for ... But the actual ritual of batting practice, to me, is entirely overrated."
Nothing really special:
Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison was traded by the Cubs to the Pirates during the 2009 season for pitchers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Harrison was asked if playing against the Cubs in a playoff game was anything special.
"Not necessarily," he said. "If anything, I think there's maybe one guy over there I played with, Starlin Castro. The other guys, I've played against them, but I don' think I had the chance to really play with them. So for me, it's not like I'm playing against a former group of guys I battled with. But it's going to be an exciting night."
He said it:
Joe Maddon was asked about the intangibles players such as David Ross, Chris Denorfia and Jason Motte brought to the Cubs this season. He said those veterans brought something beyond the numbers.
"I love numbers," Maddon said. "God, I love numbers, though I was horrible in math. Second semester algebra II was my Waterloo, to be honest with you. Algebra III and trig could have been Latin or Greek, it wouldn't matter to me. But I do love numbers. Beyond that I really like people and humans and what makes this guy tick."