LOS ANGELES – Ben Zobrist defended himself. But mostly he laughed.
“I think it’s hilarious,” he said Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal’s assertion that Zobrist was stealing the catcher’s signs from second base during the Cubs’ eighth-inning rally Saturday night.
“No, I was not stealing signs,” the Cubs veteran All-Star said. “But I appreciate him thinking my baseball IQ is that high.”
Grandal’s allegations were raised after the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory in Game 2 Sunday night, as he talked about reasons for extra visits to the mound and multiple sets of signs.
“Did we know Zobrist had the signs and was doing something for [batter Addision Russell]? Yeah. We did,” Grandal said.
He added: “We are literally paranoid when it comes to men on second and they are trying to get signs. We know who is getting the signs. We know what they’re doing.”
Zobrist said, “I don’t know what he was looking at or what he thought he saw.” He said the lighting’s not good enough at Wrigley Field to see the signs well even if he was trying.
“So I guess he probably used the right word,” Zobrist said. “I think almost all catchers are a little bit paranoid about that. But I definitely was not [laughs] – I think it’s funny.”
Has he ever done it?
“I’ve tried before,” he said, “but it’s never worked out.”
Joe Maddon pulled Addison Russell aside during Monday’s batting practice and spoke at length with the slumping shortstop about his swing. Not only is Russell 1-for-22 in the postseason, but the power has been out for him at the plate since he netted four home runs in three days in August.
“He was just saying, ‘Make sure you finish your swing,’ ” Russell said. “He doesn’t tell me how to swing a bat, per se, but he told me I’m strongest when I finish my swing strong.”
Another sign post
Javy Baez said he “heard something” about Grandal’s sign-stealing allegations.
“But I’m not really paying attention to it because we’re not doing it,” he said. “And I don’t think we need to.”