Winter workouts have Bote ready for 2019

Infielder used postural therapy to improve balance, flexibility

February 21st, 2019

MESA, Ariz. -- did not see much of the fuss on Twitter himself, but it did not take long for his brother to send him a few humorous posts that were sent out by Cubs fans. There were memes and emojis, all with the general theme that the boat arrived to camp looking more like a cruise ship.

"Social media is a funny thing," Bote said on Thursday morning.

While Bote might look more bulky in the photos from camp this spring, the Cubs infielder said he is only a few pounds up from last season. The real change is that Bote incorporated postural therapy -- at the suggestion of -- over the offseason to improve his range of motion and mobility. One result of better overall posture has been the appearance of a larger chest.

"I've actually done the least amount of chest this offseason than I have in years past," Bote said.

Bote, who should see action at second, shortstop and third this season, explained that the repetitive movements in baseball can create a physical imbalance. For him, as a right-handed hitter and thrower, his hip alignment was off due to the constant torque in one direction. So his winter workouts included more exercises to create more balance and flexibility from the hips up.

"It's just a way to reset your body so it's a more balanced state," Bote said. "It's not something to replace anything, it's just something that's helping complete the puzzle of what I'm trying to do. And it's not for everybody. I tried it and I was skeptical. I didn't think it would work, but I tried it and I liked it."

Lineup planning

In previous years, Cubs manager Joe Maddon would communicate the next day's lineup with players during the season a day in advance. This season, with so many multi-position players and plans for maximizing platoon advantages, Maddon is considering mapping things out a series ahead of time.

"Then again, I don't even know if that's going to work well or not, because a guy might be upset for two days now," Maddon said with a chuckle. "So you don't know how this is all going to play out. But it's, 'There, this is how we're going to play it. If you don't like it, come see me. This is why I'm doing it. This is the reason, et cetera.' I really believe, though, that the guys are going to be fine with all of that."

Worth noting

• Lefty has started three of the past four Opening Days for the Cubs, but Maddon would not bite when asked Thursday if the veteran will get the nod in the 2019 lid-lifter against the Rangers on March 28 in Texas. Maddon said he needs to talk to all the starters before making that decision public.

• The Cubs' main starters (Lester, Hamels, , and ) will likely begin getting Cactus League starts by the end of next week. Maddon said Chicago will also keep a close eye on the early spring workloads of relievers and .

• Veteran utility man remained away from the team on Thursday, marking the fourth straight day he has been away from camp due to personal reasons. There is still no update regarding his expected arrival date.

• After right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng starts for the Cubs against the Brewers on Saturday (2:05 p.m. CT), righty Tyler Chatwood will start against the Giants on Sunday (2:05 p.m. CT).