Emotional homecoming for Nats manager Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Former Chicago Cubs player and coach Dave Martinez returned to Wrigley Field Friday as manager of the Washington Nationals

    Former Chicago Cubs player and coach Dave Martinez returned to Wrigley Field Friday as manager of the Washington Nationals Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/11/2018 8:55 AM

Dave Martinez has returned to Wrigley Field before, both as an opposing player and as a coach.

But on Friday, Martinez came back to Wrigley for the first time as a major-league manager. Martinez took over as manager of the Washington Nationals this past off-season after Dusty Baker was fired. Before that, Martinez worked for current Cubs manager Joe Maddon as bench coach in Chicago and Tampa Bay.

 

"It' a little different, it really is," Martinez said during a pregame news conference in Cubs' interview room. "Joe and I go way back. I started my career as a Cub. Coming back here and being a bench coach and winning the World Series here all means a lot to me. It really does. It holds an unbelievable memory for me. But now I have a different job, and that's to get the Nationals to the World Series and win, too. I'm excited about that."

Although Maddon said this weekend's series is about the players, he seemed happy for his protégé.

"It's a great experience for him to come back to Wrigley and manage at this ballpark and manage against the group that he had been part of," Maddon said. "That's the part that's different.

"Overall, it should be interesting for him, different for him looking at a different dugout across the way But it's good. I'm happy that he's had this opportunity."

Maddon added that the difference between being a bench coach and a manager was akin to a family situation.

"Parenting," he said. "Either you're and uncle or you're a dad. It's two different things. When you're holding somebody else's baby, it's one thing. When you're holding your own, it's entirely different. The biggest thing with me is that, coming through the ranks, I had done a lot of different jobs. So I had a strong idea of what I wanted to do when I arrived as a manager with the Devil Rays in 2006. The difference is the fact that you're able to make the final decision and not have to advise. Big difference."

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Martinez became emotional when talking about Ken Ravizza, the Cubs' mental-skills coach, who died recently.

"We lost a real good friend," Martinez said. "We talked about that. And we have fond memories of Kenny. He was a mentor and a good friend. He taught me how to be positive. He taught me how to process everything and how to deal with individual players, on and off the field. I went to him more than just to help me on the field. Off the field too. He was a true friend and a mentor."

Another arm for the pen:

The Cub' ever-evolving bullpen got a new arm Friday when they signed left-handed reliever Jorge De La Rosa.

To make room, they optioned lefty reliever Randy Rosario to Class AAA Iowa. They also transferred starting pitcher Yu Darvish to the 60-day disabled list as a procedural move to make room for De La Rosa on the 40-man roster. Darvish has been on the 10-day DL since May, so he may return to the active roster whenever he is done rehabbing his right-triceps tendinitis.

De La Rosa, 37, recently was let go by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60 in 42 relief appearances.

In 35 innings, he walked 19 and struck out 27 while giving up 37 hits. He gave up 7 runs in 1⅔ innings on July 11 at Colorado.

He has been in the big leagues for parts of 15 seasons.

"We're just trying to augment that left-handed side coming out of the bullpen," Joe Maddon said. "Plenty of experience. He hasn't pitched in several days. He's definitely ready to go. That creates more depth."

Remembering Stan:

The Cubs observed a moment of silence before Friday's game in honor of Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, who died this week. A photo of Mikita was shown on the videoboard.

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