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Bote reflects on rookie season, walk-off slam

January 14, 2019

David Bote cracked a smile and laughed, but then the Cubs infielder was rendered speechless for a dozen seconds. The question sent his way during MLB's Rookie Career Development Program earlier this month was simple enough.Do you get tired ever of watching the video of the grand slam?The grand slam

David Bote cracked a smile and laughed, but then the Cubs infielder was rendered speechless for a dozen seconds. The question sent his way during MLB's Rookie Career Development Program earlier this month was simple enough.
Do you get tired ever of watching the video of the grand slam?
The grand slam left everyone inside Wrigley Field speechless on Aug. 12, too. Sure, there was the deafening roar, but Cubs fans probably had a hard time forming any discernible words as Bote raised his arms and the baseball soared over the ivy-laced wall in center for a walk-off miracle. It was every kid's backyard dream scenario: Bottom of the ninth, down by three, two outs, two strikes and the bases loaded.
It still feels like a dream for Bote.
"Yeah," Bote said, still smiling, "I don't know how to answer that question."

The RCDP was created in 1992 and is designed to help up-and-coming Major Leaguers be aware of off-field issues and how to deal with them. Bote received a crash course in big league life in 2018, when he bounced between Triple-A Iowa and Chicago, offering an option all over the diamond and throughout the lineup for the Cubs' fourth straight trip to the postseason.
Has Bote allowed himself to sit back and reflect on his rookie taste of The Show?
"I thought I would," Bote said, "because that was kind of the question during the year: Have you been able to step back and appreciate the year that's gone on? I really haven't, and I really don't think I will until all is said and done, just because once the season's over and you get back into the offseason, you're already back into the mindset of, 'What do I need to do to increase my abilities?'"
With shortstop Addison Russell suspended for the first month of the regular season, the 25-year-old Bote has a strong chance of cracking the Opening Day roster as a pseudo-regular. He can lend a hand at second (where the Cubs also have options in Benjamin Zobrist and Daniel Descalso), spell Kristopher Bryant at third on occasion and give the team depth behind shortstop Javier Baez.
An 18th-round pick by the Cubs in 2012, Bote is reaching the nothing-left-to-prove portion of his Minor League career. Now, he is trying to prove that he belongs in the big leagues. On that summer night in August, Bote certainly caught the baseball world by surprise with his pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam against Nationals reliever Ryan Madson.

Breslow joins front office
The Cubs announced Monday that they have hired former MLB reliever Craig Breslow as the team's director of strategic initiatives for baseball operations. Per the Cubs, Breslow, who has a degree from Yale University in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, will "help to evaluate and implement data-based processes throughout all facets of baseball operations. He will also support the organization's pitching infrastructure in player development and the Major Leagues."
The 38-year-old Breslow recently finished a 12-year big league career, which included 576 appearances between stints with seven teams and a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2013. The lefty posted a 3.45 ERA in his stops with the Padres, Red Sox, Indians, Twins, A's, D-backs and Marlins, appearing in the Majors for the final time in 2017. Breslow spent last season in the Minors with the Blue Jays.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.