Maddon rails against excessive batting practice

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon said too many practice swings can be “counter-productive.” | Associated Press

The Cubs skipped batting practice for the second straight day, and Joe Maddon didn’t miss the almost-daily part of the routine.

“I think it’s the most overrated thing that we do on a daily basis, is swing the bat way too often,” Maddon said. “I don’t know even know where the genesis of that was.”

Maddon said he thought the practice of batters swinging as much as they do started in the early 1980s, when hitting coaches and instruction became more “prominent.” That then, Maddon said, made BP a “longer exercise.”

“Extra batting practice, and hitting off tees and hitting in cages and hitting and swinging and swinging and swinging… I think it could be counter-productive,” Maddon said. “I think guys could hit themselves right through feel. You could be feeling really well. My point is if you do it too often you get to the point where you lose that feel and all of a sudden it becomes like swinging a fence pole, or a fence post.”

Maddon added that all the increased swings could lead to tired arms. He said he likes not hitting before day games that follow night games.

“I like them getting ground balls. I like going out and getting loose. I like running if you have to,” Maddon said. “I like getting loose in a cage if it’s necessary, but too many times batting practice just develops into home run derby and it really becomes useless and counter-productive.”

The longest one of Maddon’s teams has gone without BP is “almost a week.” He did say that sometimes if a player needs the extra work he’s OK with added swings, but “sometimes you actually need to do less and not more.”


Maddon indeed met Eddie Vedder on Thursday night at an event that included The Who and Joe Walsh. He was also asked what he thinks about having Friday afternoon games, giving him Friday nights off.

“In our world, for me, every night is Friday night. Everybody’s been like talking to me a lot about ‘Hey, these day games you get to go out at night on Friday,’” Maddon said. “I’m beat, so I’ll go back, I’ll take my nap. But I’m not like… who eats that much anyway? Really. Seriously. Who eats that much food? Everybody talks about these restaurants on top of restaurants, and they’re wonderful, but who eats that much?”

And Maddon is still a “night-game guy.”

“I wake up slowly. I do like my routine during the day. I like to do the workout thing, and I read a little bit and all that kind of good stuff,” Maddon said. “So I’m getting used to this, also. For that group that really likes to eat a lot, I guess it is pretty cool, but I’m pretty normal when it comes to that.”


David Ross has pulled an oblique before. He said what happened Thursday didn’t feel like a pulled oblique.

Ross, who left in the eighth inning with what Maddon called “abdominal tightness,” said before Friday’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates he felt good. During his final at-bat Thursday, Ross motioned to his side and appeared to be in some discomfort. He was then replaced behind the plate by Miguel Montero, but a day later things seem to be OK.

“I felt it. It was a little something. I was like, shoot. It felt a little funny but I felt like… I took a couple practice swings and I didn’t grab,” Ross said. “I pulled an oblique once before in Double-A and know what that feels like, so this didn’t feel like that. It just felt like a little sharp twinge and it tightened up just a little bit and then kind of released.”

For precautionary reasons, Maddon told Ross to bunt with two strikes instead of swinging away. That Ross’ bunt went foul for a strike out didn’t bother Maddon much, who just wanted the veteran catcher to protect himself.

“It’s no fun. That rotational stuff… the whole game is rotational,” Maddon said. “So when that pops up it can be a pain in the side.”

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