December 08, 2021
Chicago Cubs

Cubs’ Jason Heyward ready for more action in right field

The makeup of the Cubs’ pitching staff won’t be a secret to anyone around baseball.

While the trend in MLB is higher velocity, the Cubs will have a starting rotation of guys who resemble Kyle Hendricks and do not throw particularly hard. It’s called “pitching to contact.”

“I love that, to be honest,” outfielder Jason Heyward said Wednesday from Mesa, Ariz. “There are times when the game can get boring in right field.”

Heyward is enthused about the Cubs’ pitching plan, which was set in motion with the trade of high-salaried ace Yu Darvish to San Diego. The Cubs got Zach Davies back in the trade, Hendricks disciple Alec Mills figures to be back in the rotation, along with an older Jake Arrieta.

“I think our guys pitch to contact, but they pitch to smart contact,” Heyward said. “These guys pitch to get outs, not pitch to punch people out and strikeout. They pitch to play the game and read the game.

“I think being able to do that on the fly is a special thing and that’s something you’re going to need in a division like our where you’re going to see guys over and over again and it’s going to come down to the wire.”

Obviously, defense will be important all over the field, and Heyward has won five Gold Gloves during his career. Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez won Gold Gloves last season.

Heyward feels at home: Heyward grew up in Georgia and began his career with the hometown Atlanta Braves.

But just because he grew up in the South doesn’t mean he’s afraid of some snow and wind. From the warmer climate of Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday, Heyward talked about his decision to live in Chicago during the offseason.

“It’s home,” he said. “I feel like most people when you call something home, you live at home. Work out at Wrigley, work out at a few other spots close by in the community. It also allows me to do things to give back to the community. It just makes it easier to do exactly what I say I’m doing, that’s living and loving Chicago and that’s home.

“I don’t live somewhere I have to worry about shoveling anything. I don’t mind the winter, I like the season change. I can travel also when things get super bad. It’s a good place to be if you want to raise kids. I have a lot of things to keep me occupied when it comes to having fun and enjoying life, but also to make a difference and seeing the city grow and change for the better.”

Cubs bring Davis to camp: The Cubs added one of their top prospects, outfielder Brennen Davis, to the spring training roster Wednesday. Davis was rated as the team’s No. 2 prospect by MLB.com. The 6-foot-3 Arizona native was a second-round pick in 2018.

“We go way back, actually,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “When I was doing some special assistant stuff, I saw him come to Wrigley and work out. I’ve had a lot of interactions with him. Great kid, willing to work, glad he’s here, just saw him in the hallway.

“I know he put in a lot of work last year in South Bend and continued to watch his game improve and try to grow. So just excited to watch him continue to develop. He’s here. Take it in, this is a great opportunity for the young guys were bringing in.”