(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon is still formulating a rotation among his three catchers as he weighs how to get them regular at-bats, keep his starting pitchers comfortable and continue touted rookie Willson Contreras’ development.
As it sits now, Miguel Montero will usually catch ace Jake Arrieta, while David Ross will pair up with Jon Lester. On Tuesday night, Contreras will start for the second consecutive night, catching right-hander Jason Hammel. He made his first big league start Monday, catching right-hander John Lackey.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: Statewide Coronavirus Cases Drop For Second Consecutive Week
From the sounds of it, the veteran Montero — regarded as one of the best pitch framers in all of baseball — has the inside track to pair with right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who as opposed to some of his power-pitcher teammates relies heavily on his command and working the corners to be successful.
“I talked about it the other day, when we caught Miggy with Kyle and you saw how well they worked together — Miggy’s ability to catch balls on the edges and the low strike is very important for Kyle,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Goff Show. “So moving forward, I haven’t decided 100 percent yet.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Sprinkle Chance With Sunset
“We’ll try to figure it out the best we can. And of course, if (Contreras) starts hitting he’s capable of, it’s going to be difficult to have him not play, but for right now I just like that we’re breaking him in slowly.”
While Contreras was jumpy at times in receiving Lackey, Maddon has been pleased with what he’s seen from the exuberant Contreras, saying he “worked well” with Lackey on Monday and it’s good to have a veteran who will take charge with the rookie.
“I never want anybody to influence how he plays,” Maddon said of Contreras. “You love the energy, just like you said. He’s extremely talent. He’s got the strongest hands you’ve ever shaken in your life. He cares. He wants to be the best. He’s all of those different things.”MORE NEWS: Judge Rules Prosecutors Can't Show Kyle Rittenhouse Link To Proud Boys At Trial In Kenosha Shootings
Listen to Maddon’s full interview with Spiegel and Goff below.