Chicago Cubs' Maddon happy to talk things out with Rodriguez

Updated 8/12/2018 11:07 PM
  • Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he is happy with the discussion he had Sunday with ESPN analyst and former major-leaguer Alex Rodriguez concerning Cubs injured starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he is happy with the discussion he had Sunday with ESPN analyst and former major-leaguer Alex Rodriguez concerning Cubs injured starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon met face to face with ESPN analyst Alex Rodriguez before Sunday night's game at Wrigley Field and got out what he had to say.

It's routine for the national broadcast teams to meet with the opposing managers on the afternoon of the game.

Sunday was the first time Maddon was able to confront Rodriguez about Rodriguez's comments two weeks ago that Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish's long rehab from injury was a distraction to the club and one that could cause him to lose respect in the clubhouse.

Maddon was not happy with those comments, and he made those feelings known on his weekly radio show. He said he had a "candid" conversation with Rodriguez on Sunday.

However, Maddon termed "irresponsible" a story in The Athletic, which reported that a "heated argument erupted" between him and Rodriguez.

"Good, it was very good," Maddon said during his pregame chat with reporters who cover the Cubs. "Alex and I had a really nice discussion. I felt good about it. Hopefully he felt equally the same.

"We talked openly about it. Under those circumstances, for me, it's normally one of those things that you speak in a candid manner to one another and then you move on from there. I really believe through that conversation we have a chance to become pretty good friends.

"For me it's just about taking care of my group first, our group first. I've often talked about circling our wagons. It's about what we think first and foremost that matters, whether it's among the coaches, the clubhouse itself, the ownership, the front office. That's the circle you have to satisfy."

Rodriguez spent less than one minute talking with the Chicago media in the press-box dining room.

"We had a brief, very positive conversation," the former major-league star said. "What's great about this is we all have the same interests to grow the game, to highlight stories as objectively as we can. Obviously you guys are in the business so you know that better than anyone. I thought it was a very positive conversation."

Rodriguez was asked if he'd do anything over again. He seemed to have no regrets.

"My job is to say it fairly and objectively," he said. "I have over 25 years in the game, and I'm going to call it as I see it. We don't always have to agree on everything. But I do have a lot of respect for Joe and the Cubs organization, and I have for a long time. That hasn't changed. As a matter of fact … Joe and I plan to have drinks together. So that's planned. That's in the books. Thanks, guys."

And with that, he walked off.

Darvish, whom the Cubs signed to a six-year, $126 million contract on the eve of spring training, has not pitched since May 20 because of right-triceps tendinitis.

Maddon is known as a players manager, one who is protective of his group.

"Anytime you get any kind of outside noise coming in, it normally just is outside noise," he said. "And you've got to be able to parcel it out and understand it and make sense of it and still keep the integrity of the group together. My job, I believe, is to protect my brood, quite frankly. It's no different than being a parent."

Maddon then referred to his hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and those who raised him, from parents to coaches.

"When you speak badly of my group, our group, it brings out the Hazleton in me, pretty much," he said. "I responded, very open and candid about my comments. So we had a great conversation about that, and that's pretty much where I come from."

In the end, Maddon said the situation with Rodriguez is over.

"Absolutely, for me it is," he said. "No question. Actually it was in the past since the day I said what I had to say (on the radio show), he said what he had to say. We talked about it some more today and hopefully I'm looking forward to building a good relationship with him, a great relationship with him."

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