MESA, Ariz. — Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been impressed with newcomer Cristhian Adames. In fact, Maddon believes he has been one of the biggest standouts of spring training.
“He’s had a hell of a spring,” Maddon said. “He’s probably had the best one.”
Maddon said Adames could be a potential solution for infield depth because Daniel Descalso’s timeline is still unclear as he tends to his ailing shoulder.
“The fact he plays multiple defensive positions, he’s a switch hitter, he’s been a really good baserunner this camp, too,” Maddon said. “He’s done everything right. He’s a great option. [We’ve] been discussing him a lot. He’s really done well here.”
Adames, who has hit 16-for-36 (.444) with 11 RBI and three homers in 17 Cactus League games, was flattered by Maddon’s praise.
“It makes me feel really happy to get the attention of somebody like Joe Maddon,” Adames said Sunday through a translator. “It makes me feel really good that he knows he can count on me to help the team win because that’s what we’re here for.”
Maddon’s words also were encouraging because Adames has dealt with his fair share of disappointment.
After making the Rockies’ Opening Day roster for the second consecutive season in 2017, Adames went hitless in 13 at-bats. He was designated for assignment April 30 and never made it back to the big leagues. Last season, he hit .269 with 18 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 57 RBI in 122 games with Class AAA New Orleans, an affiliate of the Marlins.
Adames, who said this is the best he has ever felt physically at spring training, hopes to make it back to the majors with the Cubs.
“Those decisions were beyond my control,” he said. “But all I can do is work hard. I can’t hang my head. I’ve got to make the adjustments I’ve got to make to make me better professionally and help whatever team I’m on, which is what I’m trying to do.”
Hendricks wants more
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks has high expectations for the season.
His goal? To pitch 200-plus innings.
Last season, Hendricks came close, pitching 199 innings.
“Couldn’t do it. Couldn’t get three more outs,” he joked.
But this season, Hendricks, who had a 3.44 ERA in 2018, believes it’s feasible.
“It’s been a focus of mine since I came up,” he said. “It’s really tough to get there, but the last couple of years I’ve made big strides to get there. I’d love to get up to that because it shows a lot carrying the team a little bit.”
Maddon said Hendricks, 29, is in his prime.
“He’s gotten stronger, more mature,” Maddon said. “The fact that we’ve stretched him out and given him opportunity, he knows he can do it now. So yeah, I don’t think that’s beyond his abilities. We’re always keeping an eye on him, but if you play a lot of offense [to support] him, there’s a chance he should be able to get six or seven [innings] more often.”