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Eric Sogard eager to get started with Cubs

“I’ve played against them for a long time and always respected the way they go about their business and play the game,” Sogard said.

John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

PHOENIX — Eric Sogard has been on the Cubs’ radar for some time, and now that he’s with them, the 10-year major-league veteran is looking to secure a job with his new club.

Sogard, who played for the Brewers last season, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs last week and adds a new wrinkle to the team’s infield battle.

Sogard is in the Cubs’ second-base and utility competition. But with Nico Hoerner off to such a hot start this spring, he might be competing with David Bote and Ildemaro Vargas for a utility role.

“It’s been a couple years where I’ve kind of heard their name in the background,” Sogard said. “They told me the opportunity was good over here. Obviously, they’ve had a little track record of watching me and like the way I play, and I think I’d be a good fit over here. I mean, it’s a great group of guys — [I] always respected the way they go about their business and play the game.

“I think this team has a lot of versatility, which gives [manager David Ross] that flexibility to use guys at different places and different times. So I think I’m just one of those guys.”

Hendricks stretches out

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks threw a three-inning B game at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa as he begins ramping up his workload, throwing 45 pitches.

Hendricks could have pitched against the Brewers on Saturday. But pitching in a controlled environment helps keep Hendricks on his regular five-day schedule. While Ross has yet to announce his Opening Day starter, Hendricks is lined up to take the ball in the first game against the Pirates.

“It’s Milwaukee, I face them a lot,” Hendricks said. “It’s early enough in spring where it’s only three innings, so I can get the work in here. I think later in spring, if I am facing them when I had to go five, six innings [against] someone in the division, I’d just go do it. But we just thought it’d be better just to come, control the situations, make sure I get my pitch count up, because I only threw 25 [pitches] when I first started. We wanted to get to 45 this time.”

Marisnick could play soon

Center fielder Jake Marisnick has been slowed this spring because of a calf injury, but he could appear in his first game next week, according to Ross.

“He did some form-running stuff yesterday,” Ross said. “He hit in the cage yesterday, no problems. He’s progressing well. I want him to be able to get the burst. He’s still throwing, he’s still hitting. So I think just trying to take it a little bit slower and making sure there’s a progression here for his running. He’ll get on the bases here soon. Kind of looking at maybe five or six more days.”