GM Hoyer says front office owes players patience

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Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer talks to the media before last year’s National League Championship Series in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

As the Cubs hover around the .500 mark, general manager Jed Hoyer and president Theo Epstein are exercising patience.

While the start hasn’t been what they wanted, there won’t be a rush to make changes considering how much baseball is left to be played.

Adding pitching to the mix remains a priority, Hoyer said before the game against the Padres on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, but he believes that the Cubs have the right foundation in place to make another deep run.

“In general, these are our guys,” Hoyer said. “We won a World Series with largely this roster. I think they’ve proven themselves. I think we owe it to them to be patient with them. I certainly think the standings have benefited us, but there’s a false sense of security with the standings. You try to set yourself against .500, you try to set yourself by not looking at other teams.

“I think we know we have the talent, we know the guys care, it’s just a matter of kind of finding our groove and getting it together. I think we will.”

With the trade deadline still over a month away, Hoyer said he won’t rule out other possible targets. That could include a bona fide leadoff hitter to solidify a spot in the lineup that has been filled mostly by Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, and of late, Anthony Rizzo. Hoyer does not consider Rizzo to be a long-term solution at the top, but said despite the uncertainty at a spot filled last season by Dexter Fowler, improving the pitching corps trumps everything else.

“That’s organizationally where we need to go,” Hoyer said.

Heyward remains out

Right fielder Jason Heyward missed his second consecutive game after he scraped his left hand on the gravel warning track while attempting to make a sliding catch in foul territory on Sunday against the Pirates.

Heyward doesn’t have a timetable for his return. The skin on his hand was peeled back and needs to heal before he is ready to play again. Manager Joe Maddon said that a possible trip to the disabled list has not been discussed.

Heyward, who again was replaced in right by Jon Jay, would like to return as quickly as possible, but has to be realistic.

“It is frustrating . . . [my teammates) know I want to be out there,” Heyward said. “It feels like it’s been five days, not two.”

Schwarber sits

Schwarber was held out one day after he fouled a ball off his right ankle. X-rays came back negative Monday night.

Schwarber left the game Monday after his ankle became so swollen that he couldn’t move around the outfield. Willson Contreras replaced Schwarber in left Tuesday.

Schwarber knew immediately that the foul ball had done some damage.

“I thought it hit the [protective] pad and it just kind of hurt,” Schwarber said. “I looked down and it looked like I had a baseball in there and I said, ‘that’s not good.’ ”

Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.


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