MESA, Ariz. -- Veteran Benjamin Zobrist, who has not appeared in a game in a week because of a stiff neck, expects to return to Cactus League action for the Cubs on Monday night against the Indians or Tuesday afternoon against the Giants.The Cubs wrap up Cactus League play Wednesday
MESA, Ariz. -- Veteran Benjamin Zobrist, who has not appeared in a game in a week because of a stiff neck, expects to return to Cactus League action for the Cubs on Monday night against the Indians or Tuesday afternoon against the Giants.
The Cubs wrap up Cactus League play Wednesday against the A's at Sloan Park.
"I'm doing good. They are just being cautious," the 35-year-old Zobrist said. "I could probably play [Sunday], but I'm going to go out there and do everything BP-wise and stuff. I'm just trying to make sure it's totally loose before I get in a game situation."
Zobrist was scratched from the lineup last Wednesday because of the stiff neck, and he has not appeared in a game since March 19 against the Royals. On Sunday, he joined shortstop Addison Russell (stiff back), third baseman Chris Dominguez (right hamstring), along with infielder Javier Baez and catcher Willson Contreras, who were given the day off, on the "Non Game Players" list for the game against the Padres.
"The trainers have no real strong issues with anything," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's almost like you can be overly cautious right now, and that's what we are doing."
Zobrist, who won the 2016 World Series Most Valuable Player Award, is 6-for-30 in 12 Cactus League games this spring. The Cubs will play exhibitions in Houston on Thursday and Friday, and after an off-day Saturday, they will open the regular season against the Cardinals in St. Louis next Sunday.
• C.J. Edwards was dancing in the clubhouse before his outing on Sunday. He's from Prosperity, S.C., and picked the South Carolina men's basketball team to reach the Final Four, which they did.
"I'm happy they just made the [NCAA] Tournament," Edwards said. "This is perfect."
As for pitching, Edwards faced two batters in the Cubs' 22-4 win over the Reds at Cashman Field. The right-hander had been scheduled to pitch longer, but threw enough pitches in the bullpen. This has been a good spring for Edwards.
"I feel real good, better than I thought I would coming off the long season," he said.
Even though Edwards could look back on Game 7 and his postseason experience as being key in building his confidence, he said it was his first appearance of 2016 on June 28 against the Reds that was the difference. He entered in the 11th inning and got Joey Votto to fly out to right field, and then struck out Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.
"I was facing guys who can hurt you," Edwards said. "That was my first test."
He tries to keep his approach simple and remembers a message his father gave him: "Hit the mitt."
"I always try to keep everything the same," Edwards said. "I always go back to where I started from."
• Cubs catcher Miguel Montero and his wife, Vanessa, have launched the Miguel and Vanessa Montero Foundation to provide medical assistance to seriously ill children of Venezuela.
"We thank God for giving us the opportunity to create this wonderful project that will offer humanitarian aid to the kids of our country," Miguel Montero said.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein took part in the announcement of the foundation.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. 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.