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Heyward doubles in first crack at leadoff spot

Cubs also looking at Happ, Almora atop lineup this spring
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For the first time this spring, someone other than Ian Happ or Albert Almora Jr. led off for the Cubs. Jason Heyward got the assignment on Friday, part of manager Joe Maddon's auditions to see who might fit there this season.

Heyward went 1-for-3, hitting a two-strike double to left with two outs in the third of the Cubs' 6-4 win over the Angels in front of 8,194 at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- For the first time this spring, someone other than Ian Happ or Albert Almora Jr. led off for the Cubs. Jason Heyward got the assignment on Friday, part of manager Joe Maddon's auditions to see who might fit there this season.

Heyward went 1-for-3, hitting a two-strike double to left with two outs in the third of the Cubs' 6-4 win over the Angels in front of 8,194 at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

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"I'm going to check it out," Maddon said of Heyward's turn batting leadoff. "We're going to look at a lot of different guys. I like what he's doing now. I want to make sure that we look at every possibility."

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Through eight Cactus League games, Happ is 5-for-10 with three home runs in four games leading off while Almora was 0-for-7 in his three games there. On Friday, Almora batted seventh and went 0-for-3.

Jose Quintana started and gave up three straight hits in the second inning before he was lifted. The lefty got to face Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols.

"It's competition, and it's good when you face really good hitters," Quintana said.

Quintana's consistency a model for teammates

The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth when Noe Ramirez walked three batters. Ryan Court hit a two-run double and another run scored on a fielding error.

Video: CHC@LAA: Court rips a two-run double to left-center

Bryant back with a hit
Third baseman Kris Bryant, sidelined this week by an illness, was back in the lineup and singled in his first at-bat.

"He's feeling good," Maddon said. "I don't know that he's 100 [percent] strength-wise, but he's feeling pretty darn good."

If Bryant passes the tests from Friday's action, he could also start on Saturday.

Injury updates
Ben Zobrist, who has been dealing with back issues since arriving in Arizona, is continuing to make progress.

"He's out there with his backpack on and his bats [in it]," Maddon said. "He's smiling. Next week at some point, you'll probably see him [in a game]. We're taking it slowly, but he feels great."

• Reliever Pedro Strop, who has not gotten in a game because of a sore left calf, was "getting close," Maddon said.

Maddon to meet with team leaders
Maddon will have his meeting soon with the players he likes to call the "lead bulls." The group consists of veteran players who the manager wants to police things on the team. The Cubs don't have many veterans, but Maddon is able to find enough.

"From a manager looking out, you try to build a culture and try to build a manner that guys interact properly and they come to talk to you and they're not afraid to say their mind," Maddon said. "It's worked.

"They've pretty much taken charge of the entire situaiton. Guys have grown up properly and I'm pleased with that."

What's next
Tyler Chatwood will make his second Cactus League start on Saturday when the Cubs play host to the Reds at Sloan Park. Chatwood, who signed a three-year deal with the Cubs in December, gave up one hit in one inning in his first outing. Listen live at 2:05 p.m. CT on Gameday Audio.

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

Chicago Cubs, Jason Heyward