Maddon on Anthony Rizzo at leadoff all year: ‘We don’t have Lou Brock’
WASHINGTON — Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t rule out having Anthony Rizzo finish out the rest of the season as his regular leadoff hitter.
After a one-day switch to Willson Contreras against problematic left-hander Gio Gonzalez, Maddon had Rizzo right back at the top of the lineup Tuesday against Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
Rizzo was hit by a pitch leading off the game and scored the game’s first run.
“We don’t have Lou Brock. We don’t have Rickey Henderson or Maury Wills,” Maddon said. “So we’re trying to get the best we can with what we have, which I’m very happy with. Willie did a nice job [Monday]. Rizz has done a nice job.”
Rizzo has reached safely in eight of 12 times leading off games, including three homers. He entered Tuesday 14-for-42 (.333) since making the move on June 13, with four homers, six walks and a 1.114 OPS.
Contreras, the eighth leadoff man used this year, homered leading off Monday’s victory.
“I want to see [Kyle Schwarber] get back on track, and when he comes back up [from the minors], ‘What does he look like and what does it mean?’ ’’ Maddon said. “And if somebody else among this group all of a sudden ascended to the point where you’d like to put them there and move Rizz back, [then we’ll do that]. And say Rizz just all of a sudden doesn’t do well there and gets cold, get him out of there.
“I’m just trying to match our best up with what the other team’s doing and trying to get our best hitters in the first three or four slots on a nightly basis.”
After another pain-free day of throwing Tuesday, Kyle Hendricks (finger) could be ready for full-strength bullpen sessions by next week and, barring a setback, a brief minor-league rehab assignment by the following week.
That could put him on pace for a return from the disabled list during the first road trip out of the All-Star break.
“My arm feels great. It feels normal to throw, and I feel no pain in my finger,” said Hendricks, who has been on the DL since June 5 with tendinitis in the back of his right middle finger.
He has played catch since Saturday with a protective tape on the finger preventing overextension. Tuesday was the first day of throwing in which he took the tape off for the final few throws. He expects to shed the tape by the end of the week.
This and that
Ben Zobrist tested his left wrist swinging a bat again Tuesday, and for the second consecutive day it went well.
“He’ll try the same routine [Wednesday], and then we’ll assess,” Maddon said. Zobrist has been on the DL since June 13.
— The Nationals stole a club-record seven bases against Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero Tuesday, all coming in the first four innings, including four by Trea Turner.
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