Maddon hoping Heyward locates 'feel'

Cubs Notes: Szczur on rehab assignment; two TBD times announced

May 19th, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- Now that Jason Heyward ended his homerless stretch with his first blast, could the Cubs outfielder go on a streak? Manager Joe Maddon hopes so.

"It's all about feel," Maddon said. "Once you do it, you get that feel in your hands. It also means he's getting the bat started on time. That's something that could definitely lead to other good things happening. We've been talking to him about it for a while. "

On Tuesday night, Heyward hit his first homer with the Cubs in the ninth inning, in his 131st at-bat, and talked about how he felt his timing was good.

"To draw comparisons, if you remember Paul Molitor when he played, and Molly really had little or no movement prior to the pitch, and [Heyward is] kind of like that," Maddon said. "There's a little bit going on, but it's kind of a static approach, and he's been very successful with it.

"I think part of [Heyward's] slow starts are getting his rhythm and timing mechanisms down. You've just got to be patient with him. I know watching in [batting practice], everything looks really good. It's just a matter of getting that thing started on time."

Heyward hit six home runs in April 2010 and April 2011 but hit two in the first month of the season the next four years.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Matt Szczur, sidelined with a mild right hamstring strain since May 3, will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday with Double-A Tennessee. Szczur ran the bases on Monday in Milwaukee.

"There's no specific timetable now -- just go play," Maddon said. "I don't anticipate long, but you never know."

• The Cubs announced the start times for a pair of games in June at Wrigley Field that were originally listed as "TBD." The June 5 game against the D-backs willl begin at 1:20 p.m. CT and be televised by Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

The June 19 game against the Pirates at Wrigley Field will be broadcast by ESPN and begin at 7:08 p.m.

The start times for the remaining games listed as "TBD" on the Cubs' schedule will be determined at a later date.

• Maddon was sporting a new T-shirt as part of his fundraising campaign for his Respect 90 Foundation. The bright pink shirt features a flamingo wearing oversized glasses and a Maddon-ism, "If you look hot, wear it."

"It's one of my better colors actually," Maddon quipped.

He will distribute the shirts to the players, and hoped to unveil them during the Sunday night broadcast when the Cubs play the Giants on ESPN.

"It's for a good cause," Maddon said. "That's the whole point of it."

The funds will go to Maddon's Hazleton, Pa., projects, which include a "Thanksmas" celebration in December. He also hopes to find Chicago charities to receive donations.

The T-shirts so far have featured Maddon-isms such as "The process is fearless," "Embrace the target," and "Try not to suck." Maddon must be running out of catchy slogans.

"No, I'm not," he said, smiling.