Maddon says Jay invaluable to Cubs so far

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, left, and left fielder Jon Jay celebrate after a win in Atlanta this month. Manager Joe Maddon loves Jay's approach even if he isn't in the daily lineup.

    Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, left, and left fielder Jon Jay celebrate after a win in Atlanta this month. Manager Joe Maddon loves Jay's approach even if he isn't in the daily lineup. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/29/2017 12:04 AM

MILWAUKEE -- Jon Jay made his third straight start in left field for the Cubs in Friday's series opener at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers

Cubs fans no doubt have liked what they've seen from the 32-year-old veteran, who signed a free-agent deal last offseason after one year with the Padres and parts of six with the Cardinals. He entered the night with a line of .299/.390/.391.

 

Jay doesn't play every day. He's part of a rotation in the outfield.

"I think I've felt the same way all year," he said. "Just trying to be consistent. Just trying to stay ready. It's been awesome. It's been a great experience so far. I've been loving it. The guys are great, and we're starting to play baseball the way we know we're capable of."

In the first inning of Wednesday's game against the White Sox, he raced to the left-center field gap to make a diving catch of a ball hit by Melky Cabrera.

"I'm an aggressive outfielder," he said. "So when the ball went up, I'm going to give it the best I've got, and I was able to get to that one."

Manager Joe Maddon likes Jay's approach.

"The thing with that is we've had so many candidates for the same position," Maddon said. "I think he's got over 200 plate appearances right now. He's probably trending for 350 or 400, which is not bad. What I like about him is I like him on the bench, too. You've seen how valuable he is off the bench as a pinch hitter. He's just a very valuable player.

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"Who knows? Maybe he's playing this well right now because he has not played too much at this point. I've always looked at it from that perspective. People say when a guy's going well that he needs to play more often. Who knows when diminishing returns set in? I prefer this method."

The deadline dash:

The nonwaiver trading deadline comes up at 3 p.m. Chicago time Monday.

The Cubs brass was back in Chicago working the phones. It's likely the Cubs will try to land a veteran backup catcher and a bullpen arm.

"If I had to bet, I'd bet we're going to do something," Joe Maddon said. "I don't know if it's going to be an arm or not. It's a possible catcher. It's a possible anything with our guys. I would imagine that something's going to happen."

Back, back back:

With left-hander Brent Suter pitching for the Brewers Friday, Kyle Schwarber was not in the Cubs' starting lineup. He hit a pair of homers and a triple Thursday against the White Sox. He entered Friday with 17 homers. Schwarber was wearing a wrap on his back before the game.

"He's had a little bit of a stiff back the last couple days," Joe Maddon said. "It didn't bother him yesterday."

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