Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson a ‘player who makes things happen’

Swanson scored from first base on a single and a throwing error in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 10-3 victory Saturday against the Rangers.

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Dansby Swanson celebrates after scoring from first base on a single and a throwing error in the Cubs’ four-run eighth inning Saturday against the Rangers.

Erin Hooley/AP

After scoring from first base on a single and a throwing error in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ blowout victory Saturday, shortstop Dansby Swanson had enough energy to swing his right arm in jubilation.

‘‘He just makes things happen,’’ teammate Trey Mancini said after Swanson’s daring sprint put the finishing touches on a 10-3 victory against the defensively challenged Rangers. ‘‘He’s always engaged, always giving his best effort. No matter what the score, even if we were down 9-2, he would do the same thing.’’

Manager David Ross was pleased that Swanson didn’t let up, even though the Cubs already had a 7-2 lead before Ian Happ’s bases-loaded hit cleared the bases.

‘‘Keeping his head up and finishing the play, small details,’’ Ross said. ‘‘Those things go a long way and continue to put pressure on the defense.’’

Swanson also had two hits, including an RBI single in the third that snapped a 1-1 tie.

Home on the range

Right-hander Jameson Taillon learned quickly about the short dimensions in right field in Yankee Stadium the last two seasons and said he doesn’t anticipate any concerns once temperatures rise and the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field.

‘‘It’s just learning where the slug is and avoid certain areas and what pitches play the best,’’ Taillon said. ‘‘I’m a guy who has had to evolve as my career has gone on. So I’m still learning, taking inventory and hearing it all out. But it’s learning what pitches play to your strengths.’’

Taillon allowed 14 home runs in 80 innings at Yankee Stadium in 2021 but adjusted and surrendered only 10 in 90‰ innings there last season.

‘‘Let’s say the wind is blowing super-hard in,’’ Taillon said. ‘‘It might give me a little more confidence when I’m behind in the count, just to challenge a guy. If it’s blowing super-hard out and I’m facing a really dangerous hitter, that might have me lean on my curveball and put guys on the ground the most.

‘‘But I wouldn’t say that’s something I go out of my way for.’’

Heavy duty

Right-hander Adbert Alzolay made the transition from starter to full-time reliever in 2022, and one of the biggest adjustments has been the limited time to warm up before inserted in games.

‘‘I incorporated the Plyos into my program,’’ said Alzolay, referring to PlyoCare balls.

Alzolay said he used to make 40 to 70 throws at about 120 feet to stay loose. But the weighted balls shorten his warmup time and ‘‘keep my arm in a good position to pitch more often.’’

Alzolay started using the weighted balls last winter, and ‘‘it’s pretty steady now,’’ he said.

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