Cubs' Heyward ready for more action in right field

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward, left, is congratulated by Anthony Rizzo after the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-1 in a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Cleveland.

    Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward, left, is congratulated by Anthony Rizzo after the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-1 in a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Cleveland. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/24/2021 8:28 PM

The makeup of the Cubs; pitching staff won't be a secret to anyone around baseball.

While the trend in MLB is higher velocity, the Cubs will have a starting rotation of guys who resemble Kyle Hendricks and do not throw particularly hard. It's called, "pitching to contact."

 

"I love that, to be honest," outfielder Jason Heyward said Wednesday from Mesa, Ariz. "There are times when the game can get boring in right field."

Heyward is enthused about the Cubs' pitching plan, which was set in motion with the trade of high-salaried ace Yu Darvish to San Diego. The Cubs got Zach Davies back in the trade, Hendricks disciple Alec Mills figures to be back in the rotation, along with an older Jake Arrieta.

"I think our guys pitch to contact, but they pitch to smart contact," Heyward said. "These guys pitch to get outs, not pitch to punch people out and strikeout. They pitch to play the game and read the game.

"I think being able to do that on the fly is a special thing and that's something you're going to need in a division like our where you're going to see guys over and over again and it's going to come down to the wire."

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Obviously, defense will be important all over the field, and Heyward has won five Gold Gloves during his career. Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez won Gold Gloves last season. Manager David Ross touched on the subject Wednesday/

"I think without telling the entire league the things we're emphasizing, I think we've got to continue to play great defense," Ross said. "We're not going to miss a lot of bats. These guys pitch to contact and rely on weak contact. We're not going to strike a lot of guys out. I think strike one is important, especially with our bullpen guys."

Maybe with fewer strikeouts, there will be more action in Cubs games this season compared to the rest of the league. That has to be a positive, right?

"Yeah, I'm looking forward to potentially, maybe getting more stuff hit to me," Heyward said. "But I honestly think with our pitching staff, especially the starters, these guys are going to throw a lot of ground balls and get a lot of soft contact because people are going to be ready to swing."

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