Chicago Cubs' Maddon says recent demotions to Iowa not easy
The Chicago Cubs have had to send a couple of young veterans to the minor leagues over the past week, and manager Joe Maddon said it was not easy.
Late Monday, the Cubs sent infielder David Bote to Class AAA Iowa to make room for reliever Steve Cishek, who came off the injured list Tuesday.
Center fielder Albert Almora was optioned to Iowa last Friday.
"Guys that you've been there and done that with, it's more difficult, there's no question," Maddon said Tuesday. "But then again, you know it's in their best interest, also. So that part of it becomes a little bit easier. You're not releasing anybody. You're sending them down for a limited amount of time to really work on something specifically that's going to benefit them and us moving forward."
Maddon said honesty is the best approach in those situations.
"It's just a tough conversation, but, believe me, you've just got to be straightforward with it," he said. "You've got to be honest about it. Don't paint a picture that's not true. I normally like to tell them right away, 'We're sending you back down.' Then I tell them why.
"Then you always give them the opportunity to ask or give their thoughts regarding all of this, too. All of them have been very respectful. It's been a respectful process. It's going to benefit everybody moving forward."
Players have 72 hours to report to the minor leagues. Almora wasted no time getting to Iowa.
"You could look at it as two ways," Almora told the Des Moines Register on Tuesday. "I could have been bitter and taken my three days and shown up straight to Iowa, coasted through things and hopefully at the end of September and get back up -- whatever. Or I could have come with a purpose.
"First off, it's not fair to the guys here as well to play short and just wait on me just because I want to take my sweet time. I didn't think that was right for them either. So I wanted to come down and get to work."
Veteran infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist will resume his comeback Thursday with the Cubs' Class AA Tennessee affiliate. From there, he will move up to Iowa to play at least Friday and Saturday.
Zobrist has been on the restricted list since early May as he deals with family issues related to his divorce. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Cubs soon after the games at Iowa.
Castellanos goes deep:
Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos said he approaches every day as if it's Opening Day.
Why? Why not? He got a little deep with his answer.
"Why is today not Opening Day?" he asked. "Prove to me that it's not. If what has happened is a memory and what's going to happen is a thought, you're taking yourself out of right now. So in that case, every day is Opening Day."