03/12/12 8:30 PM ET
Rizzo quizzes Sveum about Fielder, Braun
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Rizzo, the Cubs' highly touted first-base prospect, asked Sveum, now the Cubs manager, about Fielder and Ryan Braun's routines and how they prepare for games.
"Prince Fielder, I want to be like him, as far as hitting goes," Rizzo said. "We talked about the great hitters in the game."
Did anything click?
"There's little things, tweaking little things here and there," Rizzo said. "Every great hitter in this game, going way back, has always had a low to high finish, so it's just little things. It was cool hearing about Prince and Braun."
Sveum, who was the Brewers' hitting coach the last three seasons, said he also told Rizzo to be himself.
"The young man has a lot of ability. But he has to be careful with trying to be perfect and trying to be other people, and worrying about what other people do," Sveum said. "Everybody's built a little different and swings are different. He just needs to play and get at-bats, and understand what hitting is all about and how to use your hands more and things like that. You don't want to be like Braun or Fielder, you want to be like Anthony Rizzo."
Sveum aware of all things Cubs job entails
MESA, Ariz. -- Dale Sveum says he hasn't sought out other past Cubs managers to get advice on how to deal with the job. He's well aware the job is different from others in baseball.
"It's one of the bigger markets, and the history and everything that goes along with Chicago and the Cubs [makes it different]," Sveum said on Monday. "Of course, it's different from managing in small markets. That's the way it is here, and in Boston and New York and the big markets. There's no doubt it's different."
With the Cubs hosting the Reds on Monday, Sveum could ask Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker for some tips. Baker was in Chicago from 2003-06, but Sveum said he won't.
"There's nothing I don't know," Sveum said. "There's going to be second guessing of everything, all that. It's not like I've never been in a big market before. You know what all goes on. I was in Boston for two years with [Terry] Francona, so I know what goes on in those places."
Before Monday's game at HoHoKam Park, Baker was asked if he had any advice.
"I can't tell him anything," Baker said. "We're trying to beat him. I mean, I like Dale, but we're still competitors. The better they do, the harder that makes it on us. I got red on now, not blue. I like Dale, I like him a lot, I think he's a good guy. I wish him well, just not against us."
Sveum won't check the Chicago sports talk shows or open a Twitter account, either.
"I don't do anything like that now, and I'm not going to start," Sveum said. "Basically, all I know how to do is get on the Internet and check scores or on my phone and email a little bit, but I"m not searching articles. To me, that doesn't make sense why you'd read -- good or bad.
"Obviously, we know there's going to be more bad than good, so it's irrelevant to look at articles or seek any kind of media that way. I've got better things to do than seek out articles [about] myself or the team. I'm living the team, the nine innings, every single night. I know what goes on. I don't have to look to find out what somebody else thinks. I know what's going on."
Marshall returns to face former teammates
MESA, Ariz. -- Sean Marshall hasn't changed physically, but it was strange to see him wearing as much red as he was on Monday.
The left-handed reliever is now with the Reds, after the Cubs traded him to Cincinnati for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and a Minor League infielder. He was back at HoHoKam Park on Monday for a Cactus League game between the Cubs and Reds.
"I've played against a lot of these guys for the last couple years," Marshall said of the Reds. "To be their teammate is a little different, but everybody has been as nice as they could be."
Marshall is reunited with Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, who gave the left-hander his first opportunity. The Reds also gave Marshall a three-year, $16.5 million contract, which gives him security.
"I've been very lucky to have been in a Cubs uniform for nine seasons," Marshall said. "There are a lot of players traded every couple years. I was always thankful for all my days at Wrigley Field. We'll be back the second week of the season playing the Cubbies, so it'll be just like going home again."
The Cubs will definitely miss Marshall, both in the bullpen and away from the field.
"Consistency -- what else is there to say about Sean?" Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. "I'm not just talking about on the field, Sean was great off the field, too. He came in every day and did his work, and showed the younger guys how you're supposed to do it. He meant a lot to us. I think the best thing is that he showed a lot of guys how to do it, like James [Russell], who is the same kind of [left-handed reliever]. We're going to miss him."
Maholm, Samardzija happy with work vs. Reds
MESA, Ariz. -- Paul Maholm finally feels like he's one of the Cubs.
The left-hander made his first Cactus League appearance on Monday, starting against the Reds at HoHoKam Park. Maholm, who had been slowed this spring by the flu, gave up one run on two hits over two innings, striking out one.
"I was happy to get out there," Maholm said. "After going through [pitchers' fielding practice] and throwing bullpens, you really don't feel a part of it -- and then you get out there and it went well. I wish I would've gotten ahead of a couple more guys. My main thing was no walks, and I was aggressive and went after the guys."
Jeff Samardzija followed Maholm, pitching out of the bullpen for the first time this spring after a three-inning Cactus League start last week against the Royals. He had a tough first inning, giving up two runs on two hits and hitting a batter. But the right-hander, who is vying for a spot in the rotation, settled down and retired the last eight batters he faced.
"There's definitely an adjustment there," Samardzija said. "The ball was up a little bit. It was actually interesting to do. The last game, I was pitching out of the windup most of the time. To pitch out of the stretch was nice."
Samardzija gave credit to the Reds' Zack Cozart for hitting a double down the line in the third off what he thought was a good sinker. The Cubs came back to win, 8-6.
Samardzija pitched out of the bullpen exclusively last season.
"It's just timing, to tell you the truth," Samardzija said. "Paulie pitched pretty good and went nice and quick, and kind of made it a little easier so I was on time. We'll just battle through that first time. It was nice to throw that little wrinkle in it and see how I [adjusted]."
Bryan LaHair is 3-for-17 through six games this spring, but the Cubs aren't worried.
"He knows he's not where he wants to be," Sveum said on Monday of the first baseman. "We keep facing left-handers, too, everyday. ... [They're] not the easiest at-bats to get going when we're facing so many left-handed [pitchers]. That will all even out. The big consistent at-bats will come the last 10 days of Spring Training after the day off."
Plus, Sveum said LaHair could go down the street to Fitch Park and the Minor League camp if he needs more at-bats.
Matt Garza had a shortened outing on Sunday against the Dodgers, when he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings. Garza said after the game he was relying on his fastball and changeup.
"He didn't really use all his pitches," Sveum said. "I think his next outing, he'll be a little more in tune to using all four pitches and getting ahead, and working the counts and getting back in the counts, too."
Jason Jaramillo, a candidate for the backup catcher job who has been sidelined with sore quads in both legs, was able to take part in early drills on Monday. He has been hitting since Friday, and was able to catch pitchers working on the side.
"I've never been happier to catch bullpens," Jaramillo said.
The Cubs will host the seventh annual Race to Wrigley 5K Run on April 14. The race begins at 8 a.m. CT at the corner of Clark and Addison streets outside Wrigley Field. The course route proceeds through the streets of the Lakeview neighborhood, before returning to the ballpark. Runners will make their way through Wrigley Field's ground-level concourse, finishing under the marquee. Proceeds from the race benefit Chicago Cubs Charities.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.