SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant homered again while Kyle Hendricks and Edwin Jackson pitched well as the Chicago Cubs played two games on Thursday – a “B” game against the Los Angeles Angels that they won 7-6 and a regular Cactus League affair against the Arizona Diamondbacks which they lost 9-5.
The Good: Tommy La Stella had doubles to left center and right center in the B game while Hendricks struck out seven in five innings. Jackson went four innings in the nightcap, giving up just one earned run. Starlin Castro had a 2-run double and a triple against Arizona.
The Bad: Castro had butterfingers in the field, making a crucial error leading to two unearned runs for the Diamondbacks and bobbling several other balls. Javier Baez struck out four times, making it 11 for the spring with just one home run and one walk.
Kris Bryant: As far as Bryant is concerned, his home run won’t increase his spring lead as it occurred in the B game but it prompted manager Joe Maddon to utter: “Oh my god that ball got out quickly.”
Bryant hammered a line drive out to left as the designated hitter after testing his shoulder with some throwing drills.
“[Bryant] threw well. Friday is an evaluation day and we’ll figure it out,” Maddon said.
Bryant has not played the field all week due to a sore shoulder but could be back a third base this weekend.
Maddon on Fowler: The Cubs manager has an idea on how Cubs centerfielder Dexter Fowler can elevate his defensive game but he’s not telling the public -- just Fowler.
“There’s one thing maybe he can get better at,” Maddon said. “That’s going to be an emphasis in this camp. I put it out there for him I think it’s in his abilities to win a gold glove.”
Incidentally, Maddon wants Fowler to play a deep center field but didn’t always think that way.
“The data suggests more extra base hits and more runs are taken away,” he explained. “I switched my thinking. I looked at the stuff and I was wrong.”