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Chicago Cubs

Stadium: Wrigley Field | Manager: Rick Renteria
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St. Louis1-01-0
Cubs' Olt on first spring HR: One of the best at-bats I've had in a while
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Cubs third baseman Mike Olt clubbed a two-run homer off Athletics starting pitcher Barry Zito during Thursday's spring game. He connected on an 0-2 changeup.

“It’s one of the best at-bats I’ve had in a while,” Olt said, per MLB.com. 

Olt spent some time this offseason working on refining his swing.

“I feel like it’s night and day,” Olt said of his swing now compared to last season. “Last year, I said I felt my swing was there, but secretly I knew in my head I was swinging at pitches I wasn’t supposed to. I’m feeling like I’m tracking the ball a lot better this year and a lot of the changes we’ve made to my swing are the reason why.”

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Cubs' Kyle Schwarber hits grand slam on Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber belted a grand slam on Thursday against the Giants.

Schwarber didn't wait long, knocking in all four runs in the second inning. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Schwarber clobbered a pitch from Ryan Vogelsong, sending it out to right field. The 22-year-old is expected to begin the season in the minors, but is one of the team's top prospects. While he may not receive a promotion until late in the season, Schwarber could draw interest on the trade market if the Cubs decide to go all in at the deadline. 

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Cubs' Joe Maddon: Edwin Jackson, 31, still has 'potential'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com

Cubs manager Joe Maddon still thinks pitcher Edwin Jackson can put it all together at some point in his career. 

Over two seasons with the Cubs, Jackson has posted a 14-33 record and a paltry 5.58 ERA. At 31 years old, however, Maddon said Jackson still has the tools to become a solid pitcher in the Major Leagues. 

"It's rare that a guy who's [31] years old can still have the label of 'potential' attached to his abilities," Maddon said, via MLB.com. "You'd think he's arrived at that point. It's not all arrived with him yet. That's really interesting with a guy like him. There is room for improvement and he knows that."

Maddon managed Jackson back when both were with the Rays from 2006-2009. Maddon believes that Jackson can improve and become more consistent. 

"I think he probably outthinks himself sometimes or gets uncertain," Maddon said. "I really would like to see him just go out there and play and not worry about whatever, whether it's mechanics or sequences or whatever. Just go out there and pitch and permit your abilities to take over. He's got an exceptional arm and is an exceptional athlete and he's a great kid, but there's still that level for him to arrive at yet that he hasn't been."

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Cubs' Travis Wood looking to bounce back after down 2014
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

After earning an All-Star bid in 2013, Cubs pitcher Travis Wood struggled last season, going 8-13 with a 5.03 ERA and 146:76 K:BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings.

"You always learn more when you fail than when you succeed, and I learned a lot last year about how to go about when you fail, picking yourself back up and getting back after it," Wood said Thursday, per MLB.com. "That’s what we took into the offseason."

Wood is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation after he was not included in the quartet manager Joe Maddon initially named to the rotation.

"There is [a purpose] — the purpose is to not have a year like last year," Wood said. "I know I’m a good pitcher and just have to get back to the basics of attacking the zone and trusting your stuff."

Wood pitched two perfect innings in his spring debut Thursday, striking out two batters.

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Cubs might bat Anthony Rizzo second at times this season
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Anthony Rizzo has primarily hit third in his major-league career with the Cubs, but manager Joe Maddon is toying with the idea of batting Rizzo second when he opts to hit the pitcher eighth in the lineup. 

“I liked Jimmy Edmonds batting two,” Maddon said when Edmonds was an Angel, per ESPN. “I liked when we put him in the two hole. When you get a better hitter like that in the lineup, you want someone at the bottom to feed him.” 

Rizzo would like to stay in the same spot in the lineup, but he said he is just focused on getting his timing down at the plate.

“I think everyone would like one spot but it doesn’t matter to me,” Rizzo said Thursday. “I just want to see a live at-bat first before I worry about where I’m hitting.” 

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2014 Team Leaders
AVGStarlin Castro , SS.292
HRAnthony Rizzo , 1B32
RBIAnthony Rizzo , 1B78
OBPAnthony Rizzo , 1B.386
SLGAnthony Rizzo , 1B.527
RAnthony Rizzo , 1B89
SBArismendy Alcantara , CF8
WJake Arrieta , SP10
ERATravis Wood , SP5.03
WHIPTravis Wood , SP1.53
KJake Arrieta , SP167
SVHector Rondon , RP29

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