Ross, Swanson praise hustle play by Cubs' Hoerner
Any Little League manager who wants to show kids why it's important to hustle at all times should replay what Nico Hoerner did in the third inning of the Cubs' 3-2 loss to Arizona at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Hoerner was on first base with two outs when Cody Bellinger lifted a towering pop up on the infield.
Instead of running 70-80% -- as some major leaguers are apt to do -- Hoerner absolutely blazed from second to third.
Arizona shortstop Jordan Lawlar signaled for second baseman Ketel Marte to make the play, but Marte lost the ball in the sun and it fell to the dirt for a base hit.
At that point, Hoerner had rounded third and was sprinting for home. Marte's throw wasn't close to in time, and Hoerner slid headfirst to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
"It's something you would obviously teach your kids," said Dansby Swanson. "That's how you play and is one of the reasons why we play hard is guys like him."
Hoerner has reached base in 32 of 35 games and is on a five-game hitting streak.
"You play here enough you realize how crazy it is," said manager David Ross. "He plays that position, so he knows how bad the wind is (and) the sun. Really nice hustle play there."
Ross is boss:
David Ross' decision to pull Jameson Taillon after 6 innings and just 77 pitches Friday generated quite a bit of buzz on social media, in the newspapers and on talk radio.
Ross went to the bullpen even though Taillon had allowed no runs and 1 hit in a scoreless game.
At the end of a 15-minute pregame presser Friday, Ross was asked about his philosophy of removing pitchers. The fourth-year manager first wanted to make clear that he's always communicating with them.
He'll ask how they're feeling or let them know he needs one more hitter and say, "Do you have it?" Then he pays attention to HOW the response is given along with the body language.
"Do I let them have input?" Ross said. "Absolutely."
But if he's already made up his mind, the guy is coming out.
"If I know they're coming out of the game and they want to argue with me, that's fine," Ross said. "I don't ever want anybody to want to give me the ball. That's for sure. Been around those guys. Those guys aren't fun to have on your staff. ...
"If they're pissed off to come out of the game, that's awesome. That's what I want. I want guys that think they can get out everybody."
Around the horn:
Cody Bellinger stole second in the third inning Saturday for his 20th steal of the season to become the sixth Cub with 20 home runs and 20 steals in one season. He joins Frank Schulte (1911), Leon Durham (1982), Ryne Sandberg (1985, '90, '91), Sammy Sosa (1993-95, '97), Corey Patterson (2004) and Javier Baez (2018). ... David Ross said relief pitcher Brad Boxberger will "work his way back in" and not be put in any high-leverage situations right away. Boxberger was activated off the 60-day injured list Friday. ... The Cubs outrighted RHP Shane Greene to Iowa on Friday. Greene threw 1 inning during his brief call-up. ... Nick Burdi and Brandon Hughes, both rehabbing from injuries, were expected to pitch at Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. ... Marcus Stroman (right hip inflammation) will throw live batting practice Monday.