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Matheny coy in face of latest Cubs move

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny may have intentionally kept the Cubs out of his annual spring address this week, but he couldn't keep the rivals in blue entirely out of conversation. A day after the Cubs shocked more than just the Orioles by re-signing Dexter Fowler, Matheny found himself cornered for comment.

He responded by playing it coy.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny may have intentionally kept the Cubs out of his annual spring address this week, but he couldn't keep the rivals in blue entirely out of conversation. A day after the Cubs shocked more than just the Orioles by re-signing Dexter Fowler, Matheny found himself cornered for comment.

He responded by playing it coy.

"I can't wait to play them," Matheny said. "That doesn't change it."

If that answer rang with familiarity, that's because it should have. It's been Matheny's go-to response for weeks when asked about the Cubs' rising stature in the National League Central. His intent is to keep his club narrowly focused and undeterred by the attention surrounding its rival to the north.

"Every team is going to do what they can to go get better," Matheny said. "Right now, we're just still focused on us, but not oblivious to what's going on in the rest of the league. We understand that there are a lot of players on that team that are happy to be there, and we could say the same thing for our camp."

Fowler was mostly a non-factor against the Cardinals last season. He hit .194/.289/.313 and struck out 19 times over 67 at-bats. He did, however, drive in a run during a five-run inning that flipped Game 2 of the National League Division Series, and he stung the Cardinals with a solo homer in Game 3.

The Cardinals and Cubs meet for the first of 19 regular-season games on April 18 in St. Louis.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

 

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