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Zobrist eager for chance to recharge battery

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Ben Zobrist is looking forward to the All-Star break for the chance to recharge after a difficult first half.

"For me, it's been a tough first half, one of the toughest of my career," said Zobrist, who entered Sunday batting .214 and has spent time on the disabled list because of a wrist injury. "Injury-wise, I've been battling stuff all year. [There have been] inconsistencies at the plate, and also I've been very unlucky.

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CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Ben Zobrist is looking forward to the All-Star break for the chance to recharge after a difficult first half.

"For me, it's been a tough first half, one of the toughest of my career," said Zobrist, who entered Sunday batting .214 and has spent time on the disabled list because of a wrist injury. "Injury-wise, I've been battling stuff all year. [There have been] inconsistencies at the plate, and also I've been very unlucky.

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"It's been one of those tough first halves," he said. "That's the great thing about this game is that it's a long season and we have the opportunity to turn it around as a club and we're still within striking distance. That's the thing we take consolation in in the first half."

The Cubs had a team meeting on Thursday, and Zobrist said there's no need for another players-only get together. He's been talking to some of the young players one on one.

"I don't think there's a need for a big meeting," Zobrist said. "We've had a couple of those. You start adding to that and it becomes redundant. I think you make more of an impact as a veteran by taking care of your own business first of all, and also just encouraging the other guys in the little parts of their game that can be improved as well.

"I know we can do a better job in the second half," Zobrist said.

• The Cubs have yet to announce their starting rotation after the All-Star break and were waiting to see how Kyle Hendricks does in a rehab start on Monday with Double-A Tennessee. Hendricks has been on the disabled list since June 5 with inflammation in his right hand.

• Cubs manager Joe Maddon, his coaching staff and closer Wade Davis received their All-Star jerseys prior to Sunday's game. The Cubs are not only taking the coaches but the clubhouse staff, including Tom Hellmann and Gary Stark, and strength coach Tim Buss.

Tweet from @Cubs: Freshening up the wardrobe for a trip to Miami. #MyTeamMyColors pic.twitter.com/bSAr0hLEcj

"It's kind of like you take three or four games of the World Series and put it in one day," Maddon said of the All-Star Game. "It's really congested. It's quite an honor to be given this opportunity."

So far, Maddon is 2-0, having been part of the American League coaching staff in 2003 and the manager of the '09 AL team.

"You try to slow it down and try to take advantage so you enjoy it," Maddon said. "I promise you I will tell myself that at some point. It is an honor to do this. but it's fast and furious and there's a lot to do. At the end of the day, you'd like to win it."

Usually, Maddon and his wife Jaye go into seclusion during the All-Star break. He's got something planned after Tuesday's game, beginning with a "getaway car."

"Bonnie and Clyde, we'll hit the freeway and just keep on going," he said.

• Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. was looking forward to the Interleague series against the Orioles to begin the second half because he'll get to see his "cousin," Manny Machado. The two aren't actually blood cousins.

"His first baseball practice was the same as mine," Almora said of the Orioles' third baseman. "We grew up together, went to the same high school together for a couple years. I was 3, he was 5, and we played baseball together until we were 15 on every team. He would come to my house, I would go to his house. It's like we were family."

This will be the first time they'll play each other in professional ball.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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