CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Benjamin Zobrist, who was out because of tightness in his lower back, was activated from the disabled list on Saturday, and versatile David Bote was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.Manager Joe Maddon said he'll be careful with Zobrist, who was batting .326 before he was sidelined April
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Benjamin Zobrist, who was out because of tightness in his lower back, was activated from the disabled list on Saturday, and versatile David Bote was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Manager Joe Maddon said he'll be careful with Zobrist, who was batting .326 before he was sidelined April 14, and not play him two games in a row right away.
Bote filled in ably for Kristopher Bryant at third base, logging five assists and knocking a double over nine plate appearances.
• Bryant back in lineup with renewed perspective
"I wanted him to believe after he had this brief experience that he knows he belongs here and he can do this," Maddon said of his conversation with Bote after Friday's game. "When you're a young player coming up, and once you get past survival and you're just trying to hang on and you figure out, 'I can do this well,' it makes a big difference, because that's a guy who can help us win. I think he's a guy who can help us win. He's got that kind of attitude."
It must be the bat
Yu Darvish collected his first hit with the Cubs and second career double on Friday, lining the ball into the right-field corner. He was using a Shohei Ohtani model bat, courtesy of the Angels' pitcher, who had sent it two days ago.
So, was it good hitting?
"A good bat," Darvish said.
'He's got the look'
New Cubs closer Brandon Morrow is 6-for-6 in save opportunities so far, picking up his sixth on Friday.
"Morrow, this is his first taste of doing this thing," Maddon said of the right-hander, who hasn't been a full-time closer in his career. "I love the look. He comes out there and he's focused and he's got the look. I like that a lot. The way he's doing it rubs off on the guys in front of him."
What's the look?
"A 1,000-yard stare?" Morrow said. "I don't know that there is [a look]. You still go out and attack guys. That's No. 1, especially in the ninth in a closing situation."
Maddon confident in Russell
Addison Russell is off to a slow start, batting .215, but Maddon isn't concerned.
"He's had some really good at-bats, line drives to right-center that have not played out for him," Maddon said. "He's going to hit his home runs. It's April. He looks good to me. I think he's moving really well. He's gotten even better on the bases. He's throwing as good as I've seen him ever. There's a lot of positives with Addison now."
Russell did not start on Saturday, giving him a breather.
"I just think he's a click off right now," Maddon said. "There's nothing I can tell you is horrible. I think he's missing his pitch a little bit. I'm fine with where Addy is at right now."
Special first pitch
Hailey Dawson threw out a ceremonial first pitch on Saturday. The 8-year-old's goal is to throw out a first pitch for every Major League Baseball team, and she has done so wearing a robotic hand designed in each team's colors.
"It's pretty cool what she's doing, and I'm happy the teams are letting her come out and throw first pitches," Bryant said. "It's such a cool story. Of course, I was going to be out there to catch it for her."
Dawson has Poland syndrome, and she was born without a right pectoral muscle due to a lack of blood supply during the sixth to seventh week of gestation.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.