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Maddon has rule suggestion for extra innings

Cubs' manager would like an extra pitcher rostered after long games
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MIAMI -- While the Minor Leagues are testing new rules this season in which a runner will be placed at second base to start extra innings, manager Joe Maddon has a different idea after the Cubs and Marlins played 17 innings on Friday night.

"I still like the least amount of change to our game as possible, even to the point where my thought is if you want to do something differently, maybe after a team plays 12 innings, they get an extra pitcher for two days," Maddon said Saturday. "Just give you an extra guy for two days. That's all you're looking for is one guy.

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MIAMI -- While the Minor Leagues are testing new rules this season in which a runner will be placed at second base to start extra innings, manager Joe Maddon has a different idea after the Cubs and Marlins played 17 innings on Friday night.

"I still like the least amount of change to our game as possible, even to the point where my thought is if you want to do something differently, maybe after a team plays 12 innings, they get an extra pitcher for two days," Maddon said Saturday. "Just give you an extra guy for two days. That's all you're looking for is one guy.

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"Maybe as opposed to radical surgery, some arthroscopic surgery, permitting one player to come in for one or two days,."

The Marlins won, 2-1, in the marathon game. According to Elias, the only time in Major League history when two teams played as long as 17 innings in either their first or second game of a season was on April 9, 1969, when the Royals beat the Twins, 4-3, in 17 innings. That was the second game of the season for both teams -- and the second in franchise history for the Royals.

Video: CHC@MIA: Butler throws seven strong innings in relief

The Cubs were saved on Friday when Eddie Butler was able to pitch a career-high seven innings in relief. Unfortunately for Butler, he also took the loss.

"That was probably his best professional performance at the Major League level, I would think," Maddon said. "Strike-throwing-wise, good stuff, he mixed his pitches up well. Confident -- he looked really confident."

The Cubs are carrying eight pitchers to open the season but could use an extra arm. The team did not make a roster move prior to Saturday's game.

The Cubs played two games of 12 innings or more last season, so Maddon noted that it doesn't happen that often.

"Maybe a minor adjustment [to the rules] might be better," he said.

Who's the new emergency pitcher?
Last season, outfielders Jon Jay and Leonys Martin and catcher Miguel Montero pitched in relief in extra-inning games. If the Cubs had run out of pitchers on Friday, who would Maddon call on?

"I have no idea," Maddon said. "Everybody had been used. If we had a full bench, it's easier."

Video: CHC@MIA: Cishek works out of a jam in the 4th

Cishek likes the lumber
Reliever Steve Cishek not only picked up his first win with the Cubs in his first outing with the team on Thursday's Opening Day, but he also got to swing the bat for the first time in a Major League game.

Cishek had one other at-bat in 2012 with the Marlins, but Thursday was different.

"It's the first time I got to swing in the big leagues, so that was a lot of fun," Cishek said. "They asked me if I could handle it, and I said, 'Sure, yeah.'"

He'd bunted in his 2012 at-bat. He grounded out in the fifth inning Thursday.

"I might need to take [batting practice] more," Cishek said.

Maddon, Hickey glad to be reunited
It's just like old times now that Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey are reunited on the Cubs. The pair were together in Tampa Bay from 2006-14.

"It's like no time has elapsed," Maddon said. "It's crazy. He's got that cynical, sarcastic sense of humor, and he's always giving me a hard time, which I appreciate. He's really good at his work, and the pitchers have taken to him. He's a great worker, and he's really well prepared every day. He's also very funny and very direct and matter of fact, and I like that."

Hickey got that feeling again after Thursday's win against the Marlins in the season opener.

"It didn't really hit me until we shook hands at the end of the game," Hickey said. "The interaction during the ballgame was fun. I definitely prefer the National League game to the American League game. Going through that, especially with the early exit of the starter and talking about double switching and who could pitch multiple innings, that was all good stuff."

Worth noting
• The Cubs struck out 20 times in the 17-inning game, which Maddon jokingly referred to as a doubleheader. They also hit the ball hard, he said.

"The strikeouts are part of our DNA, and I still believe we'll cut back on them," Maddon said. "I still want to see the ball in play more often."

• Cubs players wore Loyola-Chicago T-shirts during pregame batting practice on Saturday, which took place right before the Ramblers' Final Four matchup with Michigan tipped off in San Antonio, Texas.

Maddon is hoping the Cubs invite the team to Wrigley Field to salute them for their run in the NCAA Tournament.

"I think it's got to be kind of like what we did a couple years ago," Maddon said, referring to the Cubs' World Series run in 2016. "Sister Jean, I'd like to meet her. I was raised by the nuns, so I'd like to meet her at some point. It's a great vibe, a great story."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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