(CBS) On a Cubs team that has an abundance of talented players who force some everyday types into part-time roles, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. is taking his job to heart, even if it means less playing time.
The Cubs recently called up 2015 first-round pick Ian Happ, who has played a key role in the outfield. That means Almora, the 2012 first-round pick, has seen a reduced role. It’s something manager Joe Maddon agonizes with as he writes out the Cubs’ lineup card.
As for Almora, it’s all a part of being on this team, as he explained on the Spiegel & Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Thursday.
“This is not about me,” Almora said. “This is about the Chicago Cubs. We want the best nine out there every day to contribute to win. Whatever gets put out there, that’s what we got to go with. It’s pretty simple for me, man, I’m not that type of guy.
“Obviously, I’m a competitor. I want to play, I want to help. But whatever my job is, that day if it’s to come off the bench and to try to contribute off the bench, then so be it. This is not about me, this is about the team. I’m just happy to be part of such a great organization.”
Almora is playing his first full season in the majors after coming up last summer and playing a role in the Cubs’ first World Series championship in 108 years. With the departure of Dexter Fowler, it was expected that Almora would see more plenty of playing time in center field. Instead, Maddon is left mixing him with Jon Jay and now Happ, while occasionally moving Jason Heyward to center and Ben Zobrist in right field so Javier Baez can also see playing time at second base.
Staying in rhythm hasn’t been a problem for Almora, even if that means fewer starting nods.
“I have a routine,” Almora said. “I know it’s not the same as when you’re playing. But you do what you’re dealt. My goal is to try to help every day I’m out there. This game is more failure than success. So if you don’t have a game that you do well, you just learn from it, move on and grow from it.
“I think of every game as a learning experience, even if I’m playing or not.”
Almora has managed many peaks and valleys since joining the Cubs last season. He became a World Series hero in scoring the go-ahead run in Game 7 of the World Series last November.
Playing for the Cubs is something Almora takes great pleasure in. He enjoys the game of baseball.
“The love of the game for me runs in my veins,” he said. “I really can’t picture myself doing something else.
“I was born with the love. It’s getting bigger and bigger as the days go on.”
Listen to Almora’s full interview below.