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Cubs trim roster, optioning Maples, Zagunis

Baez, Strop making progress in rehab from injuries
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the Cubs whittle down the spring camp roster to the final 25 for Opening Day, they have to consider which players still have options remaining.

Cubs players who are out of options include first baseman Efren Navarro and pitchers Mike Montgomery and Eddie Butler. The Cubs most likely will carry eight relievers, and Montgomery is set. On Thursday, the Cubs released Justin Grimm, who was out of options, which could create an opening for Butler in the bullpen.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the Cubs whittle down the spring camp roster to the final 25 for Opening Day, they have to consider which players still have options remaining.

Cubs players who are out of options include first baseman Efren Navarro and pitchers Mike Montgomery and Eddie Butler. The Cubs most likely will carry eight relievers, and Montgomery is set. On Thursday, the Cubs released Justin Grimm, who was out of options, which could create an opening for Butler in the bullpen.

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Players with one option remaining include infielders Tommy La Stella and Mike Freeman, and pitchers Carl Edwards Jr., Alec Mills, Dario Alvarez, Cory Mazzoni, Kyle Ryan and Randy Rosario.

Players on a 40-man roster are given three Minor League options. An option allows that player to be sent to the Minor Leagues without first being subjected to waivers. When a player is optioned to the Minors for a span of more than 20 days, he loses an option.

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Dillon Maples and Mark Zagunis were both optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Maples made his Major League debut last September, appearing in six games.

"I think he learned some things this camp," Maddon said. "He's the kind of guy we have to have a specific plan with. Maybe when he gets more consistent catching, meaning the same guys, you'll probably see a better result. I like where he's headed."

A top prospect (No. 13 for the Cubs) who was a 14th-round pick in 2011, Maples seemed much more relaxed in camp this year.

"The conversation we had a couple hours ago was impossible last year at the same time," Maddon said. "He's definitely arriving at that point where he feels he belongs here. I think he's still in survival mode a little. His stuff is outrageously good. He's come through quickly, but when he gets here, he'll stay for a long time."

Injury updates

• Second baseman Javier Baez, sidelined since March 8 because of a sore left hamstring, was expected back in the Cubs' lineup Saturday and Sunday in the split-squad games in Mesa, Ariz.

• Reliever Pedro Strop, who has been slowed because of a tender left calf, threw a bullpen session on Friday and needs to have a live batting-practice session before he gets into a game. Strop's comeback was slowed when he became ill.

• Lefty reliever Justin Wilson has been dealing with a blister, but was able to pitch one inning on Wednesday against the Royals.

Butterfield not lacking in jerseys

Cubs third-base coach Brian Butterfield is a man of many talents, and apparently, several nicknames, too. The Cubs have made sure Butterfield has a jersey to match each of his monikers.

There's a jersey that says "Butterfield," of course, but also a "Butter-Field" shirt, one that says "BT Hustle" and another that's butter in Spanish, "Mantequilla."

Maddon came up with them.

"I like hyphenated last names, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus," Maddon said. "I dig the hyphenated last name. I think it stands out. It's more difficult autograph wise."

The "BT Hustle" stands for "Big Time Hustle." That also is a favorite.

"I don't want to let that one die either," Maddon said.

Camp battle 

With less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, the Cubs still have to decide who will back up catcher Willson Contreras. On Thursday, Victor Caratini was behind the plate to catch Kyle Hendricks, who complimented the young catcher. The decision may come down to whether the Cubs want Caratini to play every day at Triple-A Iowa or prefer a veteran in Chris Gimenez.

Up next: The Cubs have split-squad games this weekend, with half the team headed to Las Vegas and the other half playing games at Sloan Park in Mesa. On Saturday, Jose Quintana will start in Las Vegas (6:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV) while Butler starts in Mesa against a split-squad Indians team at 3:05 CT on MLB.TV. Saturday's game in Las Vegas will be televised on WGN-TV.

On Sunday, Tyler Chatwood will start in Mesa against the Royals and Rob Zastryzny will face the Indians in Las Vegas.

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

Chicago Cubs, Dillon Maples, Mark Zagunis