Elgin native Court's spring training impresses Cubs' Maddon

MIAMI - The Cubs officially finalized their opening-day roster Thursday. Not on it was Ryan Court, a native of Elgin and graduate of Dundee-Crown High School.

Court went to spring training as a nonroster invitee and impressed the Cubs with his play all spring. In spring games, Court was 18-for-50 for a line of .360./458/.660 with 4 homers and 7 RBI. Officially, Court was reassigned to Cubs minor-league camp at the end of spring training, and he will start the season at Class AAA Iowa. The 29-year-old infielder has been in pro ball since 2011 - including a year in independent ball - and is still looking to make his major-league debut. That could come this season with the Cubs.

"A lot of our young guys had a really good camps," said manager Joe Maddon. "Court showed to me he's a really good baseball player. Worked good at-bats. I put a lot of signs on with him, whether he was on the bases or at the plate, and he didn't miss one. I put more signs on in this camp than I have in maybe the last two years combined. He didn't miss one of them.

"That tells me a lot about his ability to focus in the moment. Mike Freeman had a nice camp, too. But Ryan Court came out of nowhere. I give the guy a lot of credit for how he's gotten to this point in his career. Very impressive."

Not a big deal:

Major League's Baseball rule on limiting visits to the mound didn't seem to have an impact on Thursday's 8-4 season-opening victory for the Cubs over the Marlins. The center-field scoreboard kept track of how many visits each team had left.

The rule is designed to improve the pace of play. Cubs president Theo Epstein said before the game the rule seems clear to him.

"They sent out a memo that was really clear," Epstein said. "It'll be an adjustment for everyone to get used to it. But the rules have been pretty well thought out and communicated. Everyone should know. Usually there will be a few awkward moments where people adjust to it, but I don't think it's going to dominate the game."

They all scream for Loyola:

Joe Maddon, like many others connected to the Chicago sports scene, has been taken with Loyola University's ride to the Final Four.

At the end of his pregame media session Thursday, Maddon mused that he'd have to take team chaplain Sister Jean out for ice cream in his station wagon. Maddon also said that maybe the five starters for the Ramblers would fit in the wagon, a 1985 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser.

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