Heyward calls bench role ‘tough’ but vows to be ready when called

SHARE Heyward calls bench role ‘tough’ but vows to be ready when called
screen_shot_2016_10_21_at_11_50_18_pm.png

Jason Heyward | Harry How/Getty Images

CLEVELAND – Eleven months after signing the biggest contract in Cubs history, right fielder Jason Heyward faces the likelihood of becoming a part-time player in the Cubs’ first World Series since 1945.

Manager Joe Maddon started Chris Coghlan in right field Tuesday for the Series opener, the second consecutive game the struggling Heyward has been out of the lineup. And Maddon suggested he might do the same thing in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“Obviously with Jason the bat’s just not been working like you would like for it to work right now,” Maddon said. “I’m not giving up on him by any means. But I just thought for tonight, run CC back out there and see if we get a little more offense rolling out of that position and then get J-Ward in the game later for his defense.”

Heyward sat twice during the Cubs’ six-games National League Championship Series and once during their four-game division series.

“You’ve always got to be a professional,” he said, “and root your teammates on, understand you don’t make the lineup, and do what you can whenever you get the chance to do it.

“As far as switching roles now at this point in the year, it’s tough to do,” he added. “There’s no excuse or anything, but it’s tough to come in and push a button when you’re used to being out thee every day and already having some kind of feel for the series and how they’re pitching you or whatever.”

Tuesday night was the first time Maddon sat him against a right-hander (Corey Kluber).

“You’ve got to win four more games, and we’ve got to make our best guesses right now,” Maddon said. “We’ll see how this looks like tonight. We’ll play it out and see what it feels or looks like and make our determination for tomorrow.”

Coghlan struck out looking in both at-bats against Kluber, before being lifted for pinch-hitter Willson Contreras in the seventh. Instead of sending Heyward to right in the bottom of the inning, Maddon put rookie Albert Almora Jr. in right with the score still 3-0.

Band on the run

The Cubs expected the American League’s top base-stealing team to try to exploit Jon Lester’s yips on the bases, and Francisco Lindor did just that during the Indians’ two-run first inning Tuesday.

And it’s making Maddon consider starting strong-armed rookie Willson Contreras with right-hander Jake Arrieta on Wednesday instead of the veteran Arrieta is more comfortable with, Miguel Montero.

“We haven’t decided fully yet, but we are considering that,” Maddon said. “They do run, and Willson is one of the best young throwers in the game right now. You have to balance out how comfortable you think Jake’s going to be throwing him vs. Miggy.”

Lindor turned a two-out single into two bases with big leads and eventually a steal. And Lester followed with two walks to load the bases, before an infield hit and hit batter pushed two runs across.

Arrieta downplayed the Indians’ running game as a threat.

“They’ve got to get on base first,” he said.

Notes: Indians pitcher Corey Kluber’s eight strikeouts through the third inning broke a World Series record shared by Bob Gibson, Orlando Hernandez and Randy Johnson. That was also an Indians World Series record for a game.Tuesday night marked the first time a team run by Theo Epstein has lost a World Series game. His Red Sox swept to Series wins in both 2004 and 2007. On the other hand, Epstein’s manager in Boston, Terry Francona, is now 9-0 in World Series games. …With his double in the fourth inning, Kyle Schwarber became the first non-pitcher in history to have a hit in the World Series after going an entire regular season without one. …The only roster change the Cubs made from the NLCS to the World Series was adding Schwarber and dropping rookie left-hander Rob Zastryzny – who did not pitch in the NLCS.

CLEVELAND – Eleven months after signing the biggest contract in Cubs history, right fielder Jason Heyward faces the likelihood of becoming a part-time player in the Cubs’ first World Series since 1945.

Manager Joe Maddon started Chris Coghlan in right field Tuesday for the Series opener, the second consecutive postseason game Heyward has been out of the lineup.

And Maddon suggest he might do the same thing in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“Obviously with Jason the bat’s just not been working like you would like for it to work right now,” Maddon said. “I’m not giving up on him by any means. We’ll continue to work on different things with him.

“But I just thought for tonight, run CC back out there and see if we get a little more offense rolling out of that position and then get J-Ward in the game later for his defense.”

Heyward, who is in the first year of an eight-year, $184 million deal, sat twice during the Cubs’ six games in the National League Championship Series and once during their four-game division series.

Tuesday night was the first time Maddon sat the lefty hitter against a right-hander (Corey Kluber).

“You’ve got to win four more games, and we’ve got to make our best guesses right now,” Maddon said. “We’ll see how this looks like tonight. We’ll play it out and see what it feels or looks like and make our determination for tomorrow.”


The Latest
Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, on Thursday became the first Black woman elevated to the nation’s highest court. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that her “ascension to the bench now tells the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. So proud!”
Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with the attack. He has offered no motive to police other than he is an “angry person,” according to prosecutors.
R. Kelly’s legal saga has been an unnecessarily drawn out debacle fueled by denial, greed and the willingness to ignore the cries of mostly Black girls and women.
“To Chicago’s businesses, I want to say loud and clear: Labor laws are not optional. We will hold you accountable,” said a city official on consumer protection.