Hendry lauds Maddux's impact on Cubs

Cubs special assistant Greg Maddux has been "exactly what I wanted him to be," said general manager Jim Hendry. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry talked at length on Tuesday about the impact of special assistant Greg Maddux and his contribution during spring training.

"When Greg is on your team you're better," Hendry said. "He's exactly what I wanted him to be, and I have no doubt that he has helped a lot of people in this camp. He'd be the last guy to take any credit for that or talk about himself."

Hendry was pretty right-on about his commentary about Maddux. I asked the 355-game winner what spring training has been like for him.

"This has been a fun spring training, one I've enjoyed and learned a lot," Maddux said. "I enjoy being around the players and exchanging ideas. I hope to continue to keep learning at this level."

Hendry went on to talk about the impact Maddux has had during his first spring training as a front office executive.

"I'm thrilled he's here," Hendry said. "It's been a positive in every capacity. He's going to be capable of doing a lot of important jobs down the road, if he chooses. He's about as smart a player as we've ever seen."

Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, and Sean Marshall are just a few of the pitchers who have given Maddux credit for technical and psychological support.

"He's the most successful non-promoting person I've ever met," Hendry said of Maddux.

Maddux will be with the Cubs' minor-league affiliates the first couple months of the season. He will also spend time with assistant general manager Randy Bush and super scout Gary Hughes, learning how to break down games from a scouting perspective. Maddux will also spend time with the Cubs' big-league team as well as have some flexibility to go back to Las Vegas and California for family time.

  • Hendry and manager Lou Piniella said the Cubs will trim the roster to around 30 players on Friday. At that time they are expected to also name their starting rotation and bullpen pitchers. A battle for the bench role will continue until late next week. The candidates include Chad Tracy, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, Sam Fuld, Andres Blanco and Tyler Colvin. Fuld and Colvin are competing for the fifth outfield spot.- The Cubs had a front office and coaches meeting on Monday afternoon to go over roster moves and trade possibilities. Piniella said that the meeting lasted an hour and a half. Participants in the meeting were Piniella and his coaching staff along with Hendry, Bush, Hughes, Maddux and baseball administrator Chuck Wasserstrum. The Cubs usually have one or two of these meetings during spring training.

  • Xavier Nady will begin playing in the field over the next 10 days. The plan is for him to play in major- and minor-league games in the outfield and first base. Nady is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, replacing a ligament in his right arm for the second time in his career. The plan is for Nady not to overextend himself as far as throwing for now and in the near future. Nady will come out of games for defensive replacements in late game situations during the season in an attempt to prevent him from overthrowing as well as for the team to be able to protect one and two-run leads.

  • Piniella said Ted Lilly will pitch in his first minor-league game on March 27. The plan for now is for Lilly not to pitch in any Cactus League games. Lilly will continue to work on building his innings up in minor-league competition. His first outing he will be held to two innings pitched. Piniella said they are expecting Lilly back with the team some time in the second half of April.