Dillon pitches scoreless inning in debut

Right-handed reliever Dillon Maples made his major-league debut with the Chicago Cubs in Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field.

Maples worked the top of the sixth inning, getting a pair of groundouts before walking Dansby Swanson. He then struck out Rio Ruiz, and Cubs catcher Rene Rivera saved the ball for Maples.

"The buildup was something I've never experienced before," said the 25-year-old Maples, the Cubs' 14th-round pick in 2011. "But as far as being out there, it felt all the same.

"Obviously, you're going to be really anxious. It's just a matter of quelling those nerves, and I was able to do that. Once I got out there, it was just me and Rivera."

Maples said he would give the strikeout ball to his mother.

Ready for some football:

The Cubs took off for Pittsburgh wearing NFL jerseys. Manager Joe Maddon said he was going as "Coach Ditka," referring to former Bears tight end and Super-Bowl winning coach Mike Ditka. He said he also had a Joe Namath jersey for the trip home. Maddon, Ditka and Namath all are from Pennsylvania.

Pitcher Jake Arrieta had a Bears Dick Butkus jersey, and right fielder Jason Heyward had a Bears Gale Sayers jersey.

"More of an admiration," Heyward said. "That's a really good one to have. It's cool a lot of history in it. I know my dad will like this one."

Rob Z is back:

The Cubs on Sunday recalled left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny from Class AAA Iowa. There are now 32 players on the active roster.

Zastryzny, 25, joins the Cubs for the fourth time this season. He has made 1 relief appearance with the club this season during his first stint in May.

He went 2-3 with 1 save and a 5.94 ERA in 14 appearances, 7 as a starter, with Iowa this season.

Getting them both work:

Rene Rivera started at catcher for the second straight game. It's likely Alex Avila will start Monday's series opener at Pittsburgh. The two catchers are filling in for starter Willson Contreras, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The Cubs hope to have Contreras back by late September.

"But it's nice to have both of these guys," Joe Maddon said. "I feel comfortable with either one out there. While the other one's playing, the other one's resting, which is good for us, too."

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.