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Maddon content to bat pitcher in No. 8 slot

CINCINNATI -- So far, Cubs manager Joe Maddon's preference for having the pitcher bat eighth seems to be working, and he plans on sticking with it.

The starting pitcher has batted eighth in each of the Cubs' 17 games this season, and the group is batting .141 collectively. However, where the pitcher bats is not Maddon's concern.

"It's not about the pitcher hitting eighth, it's about who's hitting ninth then [Nos.] 1-2-3," Maddon said on Saturday. "We can get potentially more runners on base and feed them more."

Maddon likes to call the No. 9 batter a "leadoff hitter in training," and tries to insert someone who will get on base to set up whomever is batting second or third.

"It makes you feel like they're actually getting fed properly," Maddon said of his Nos. 2-4 hitters. "And if they're not, with the pitcher hitting ninth, it feels like they're not getting the right kind of nutrition."

The Cubs are carrying 13 pitchers and three catchers and, as a result, they have a short bench. From 1914-2014, the Cubs had batted the starting pitcher somewhere other than ninth only once in a game and that was on Sept. 8, 2012, when Jeff Samardzija did so.

Maddon is open to change, but not now.

"So far, I like it," he said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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