Cubs adjusting to new dugouts, grass
There are a couple of things about Wrigley Field that are new or different this year.
First are the dugouts. Both the home and visiting dugouts have been expanded and are now bi-level. The Cubs' dugout has been expanded from about 7 feet in width to 12 feet. The dugouts also have been moved farther down the baselines.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he is adjusting to the different sightlines. Assistant general manager Randy Bush and ballpark expansion vice president Carl Rice were out Wednesday afternoon looking at the entrance to the dugout from the field.
Plans are in the works for a ledge in the front row for players to stand on to get a better view of the field.
"Everybody expected some kind of an adjustment period," said manager Joe Maddon. "The fixes that we're talking about are relatively simple. Talked to Carl and Randy Bush today. Everybody's on the same page. I think the adjustments are minimal. It's just something that permits us better egress and (ingress) out of the dugout for the hitters and just some sightlines from a coaching perspective, too."
The other difference at Wrigley is the grass. It's much shorter and plays faster than it has historically. Expect that to change.
"They just had to put that turf down late, so I think you're seeing a real compressed, probably some kind of bluegrass," Maddon said. "That's what they normally grow up here or play up in this neck of the woods. It almost plays like a Bermuda cut right now. But it's quick. There's a lot of topspin on the ball.
"Like that ball that bounced out of Addy's (Addison Russell's) glove on the backhand side (Tuesday). It had so much spin coming of the dirt. It's nobody's fault. Just with everything going on, it just took longer to get everything rolling. But the dirt looks like it's in good shape. The grass is just really compressed. It'll fluff out and it will grow when the weather warms up a bit. It's just where we're at right now stadium wise. Same for both sides. It'll slow down."
He's Gold again:
Right fielder Jason Heyward was presented with the Rawlings Gold Glove he won for his defense last year. Heyward has won four straight Gold Gloves and five overall.
"I don't know how many times I've told him, 'I feel so much better when you're on the field,'" Joe Maddon said. "I think the receiving of the Gold Glove is one of the top awards in all of baseball. I love having guys that win that award. Normally if you have a couple of those, you've probably had yourself a pretty good year as a group. I think it's outstanding.
"He has not achieved on the offensive level that he'd like to ... normally a lot of times that award goes to offensive player. It's almost an offensive award. So the fact that he's really been able to hold serve in the eyes of the industry while he's still working to get to the level that he's capable of offensively, I think it's pretty impressive."