Cubs’ Nick Madrigal looking ahead after hectic 12 months
Madrigal is still a foundational piece in Chicago, just for a different team with a different timeline after getting traded while recovering from a severe injury.
A year ago, second baseman Nick Madrigal was a foundational piece for a White Sox team expected to make multiple October runs.
Then on June 9, Madrigal tore his right hamstring, an injury that required surgery and ended his season and a late-spring breakout that saw him hit .365/.420/.568 in his last 20 games.
The Sox then sent him and reliever Codi Heuer to the Cubs for Craig Kimbrel in a blockbuster deadline deal.
He’s still a foundational piece in Chicago but for a different team with a different timeline.
“There’s a lot of different moving parts,” Madrigal said. “A lot has happened the last couple of years. Some good, some bad. It’s just part of the business. I’m fortunate to be with this organization. I think it truly was a blessing to come over here and meet some of these guys, work with the staff. I’ve been so happy over here. It’s just been incredible.
“I’m looking forward to this year. I’m very blessed to be in this position.”
Madrigal’s handling of all the upheaval doesn’t surprise Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner. Madrigal and Hoerner have known each other for years and trained together during the lockout.
Hoerner said Madrigal is very levelheaded, and that’s a helpful trait regardless of the situation.
“He does a really good job of building relationships with people all around the organization, from staff to players, coaches, everybody,” Hoerner said. “He brings a lot to the clubhouse, likes to work but has fun while doing it. It’s all you can ask for.”
Madrigal has one hit three games into his Cubs career. But more important, he says he feels great physically despite the chilly weather during the opening series at Wrigley Field against the Brewers. Madrigal had felt tightness in his right glute during spring training.
He also has to put what happened last June — his hustle to first base on a slow chopper to third ripped up his hamstring — out of his head.
“I’ve got to have faith in everything I’ve done, all the work I’ve put in to get back to this point,” Madrigal said. “You can’t really worry about what happened in the past. I know it was a tough one, but I’m confident in everyone that’s gotten me to this point. My body’s feeling really good at this point.
“I just focus on going out there and giving everything I have and just not worrying.”
Madrigal doesn’t have to worry much about his role with the Cubs. Since last summer’s teardown, the Cubs have stressed a contact-first approach at the plate that focuses on putting the ball in play, and that’s what Madrigal is known for.
And as Hoerner alluded to, Madrigal also seems to be a snug fit in the Cubs’ clubhouse.
“I love it,’’ Madrigal said. ‘‘I think this is a really good clubhouse. With the chemistry, the people, it makes it easy to show up every single day, get along with anyone you see. I think if we have good chemistry in the clubhouse, it will show on the field. I really do feel comfortable out there with these guys, and I’m looking forward to it.”
CUBS AT PIRATES
Tuesday: Drew Smyly (11-4, 4.48 ERA in 2021) vs. Jose Quintana (0-3, 6.43 in 2021), 3:12 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.
Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 1.69) vs. JT Brubaker (0-1, 12.00), 11:35 a.m., Marquee, 670-AM.