Maddon ‘trying to build a relationship’ and ‘trust’ with Chapman

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon expressed sympathy for Aroldis Chapman’s rough public start to his relationship with Chicago, suggesting the immediate barrage of media questions and scrutiny about the pitcher’s domestic-violence suspension set an acrimonious tone.

“I know there’s been some reticence and pushback regarding him to this point,” Maddon said, referring to Chapman’s initial refusal to talk to media after his powerful Cubs debut Wednesday night. “However, understand where he’s coming from right now. We don’t know him; he doesn’t know us; and he really doesn’t even know the language.”

Chapman, who has used coach Henry Blanco and teammate Miguel Montero as translators his first two days with the team, but the Cubs might be adding a new, more professional translator soon, Maddon said.

“From my perspective, what I’m trying to do right now is build a relationship with this guy so he starts trusting me,” Maddon said. “I believe once that occurs, then I’m really going to be able to understand what he’s about and what he’s thinking.

“To put myself in his shoes,” the manager added, “coming into a new venue, new city, new everything, and it’s a pretty heavy moment, to immediately be scrutinized as he was I can almost understand why it’s been difficult for him.

“I’m looking forward to these next couple of days [to start building a relationship].”

Chapman, the 100-plus-mph closer, was acquired Monday from the Yankees in a four-for-one trade that included the Cubs’ top prospect (Class A shortstop Gleyber Torres).

Cubs, Sox and piranhas

Cubs reliever Joe Nathan has seen just enough of the Crosstown Series this week to know the difference between that rivalry and the bitter division rivalry between the Sox and his Minnesota Twins a decade ago.

“There’s definitely a different type of intensity in the crowd,” he said. “as far as on the field, that intensity didn’t change at all.”

The Twins that then-Sox manager Ozzie Guillen called “piranhas” beat the Sox for AL Central titles six times in a nine-year span from 2002-10, with Nathan a member of the team for seven years of that stretch.

Given what’s at stake with division games, “those were huge,” Nathan said, adding he senses a similar urgency this week just because of where the Cubs’ standing and expectations.

“It raises the stakes on the importance of the ‘W’s,” he said. “Every game’s huge.”

Javy time

Javy Baez started at second base for the eighth time in 11 games Thursday, including the fourth straight. But Maddon said there’s nothing to read into.

“It’s just out of necessity right now,” said Maddon, who likes Baez in the lineup against left-handers, hand-picked matchups against righties, and as an alternative bat when resting Willson Contreras (Tuesday and Wednesday).

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