Wrigley improvements continue for Chicago Cubs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez is greeted by teammate Ben Zobrist after scoring against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Milwaukee.

    Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez is greeted by teammate Ben Zobrist after scoring against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Milwaukee.

 
 
Updated 4/5/2018 9:58 PM

MILWAUKEE -- The Chicago Cubs spent their scheduled off-day Wednesday at their respective homes, but when they get back to Wrigley Field for Monday's home opener, they'll find a few more amenities as part of the ballpark renovations.

The dugouts have been expanded and moved farther from home plate, and there will be new batting tunnels behind the dugout.

 

"I guess the door was locked to try to get in (Thursday)," said manager Joe Maddon, who boarded the bus from Wrigley for the weekend series at Miller Park. "I'm good. I'm OK with waiting. I'll be there 80-some times this year, hopefully closer to 90, and that will be fine.

"I'm not even curious. I'm sure I'm going to appreciate it, I'm going to like it."

First baseman Anthony Rizzo arrived in 2012, well before the renovations began. He remembers the small clubhouse and cramped training facilities.

"You could go back before it all started to the commitment the organization made to making the facilities the best for the players," he said. "They've stayed true to their word.

"They've built talent. They've built a good team, a championship team. Wrigley Field is the best venue in sports. It just continues to get better and better. That's a credit to our organization, our staff, to continue to push the needle forward here."

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All the way back:

Joe Maddon adjusted his lineup Thursday against Brewers left-hander Brent Suter. Ian Happ led off for the fourth time in six games, with Ben Zobrist batting second. That pushed Kris Bryant down to third and Anthony Rizzo to cleanup.

"The main mover and shaker has been Zobrist," Maddon said. "Zo's really looked good at the plate, actually from both sides. I thought it was wise to get him back up near the top."

Zobrist had 4 hits in his first 11 at-bats of the season before he singled in the top of the first Thursday. He was slowed at the beginning of spring training with a tight back. Maddon said he felt his versatile veteran was "caught up."

"I feel good," Zobrist said. "The season is very young. I think we're all just looking to hit our stride and figure out how to get things clicking as a group together. Sometimes it takes a few games.

"We haven't started out necessarily offensively the way we wanted to as a group. Personally I feel pretty good. I'm just excited that I'll be in the lineup and get a chance to do some damage for the club. I think that's everybody's focus: finding a way as a group to do more damage."

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