CHICAGO -- Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward was presented his fifth Rawlings Gold Glove Award prior to Wednesday's 13-5 win over the Pirates, and it's well deserved, manager Joe Maddon said."I don't know how many times I've told him, 'I feel so much better when you're on the field,'" Maddon
CHICAGO -- Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward was presented his fifth Rawlings Gold Glove Award prior to Wednesday's 13-5 win over the Pirates, and it's well deserved, manager Joe Maddon said.
"I don't know how many times I've told him, 'I feel so much better when you're on the field,'" Maddon said. "I think the receiving of the Gold Glove Award is one of the top awards in all baseball. I love having guys win that award. Normally, if you have a couple of those, you have a pretty good year as a group."
Heyward, who has won the award in 2012 and '14-17, hasn't had the same success offensively with the Cubs, batting .243 since he signed an eight-year deal in December 2015.
"Right now, he has not achieved on the offensive level he'd like to, because normally that award goes to an offensive player," Maddon said of the defensive honor. "The fact that he's been able to hold serve in the eyes of the industry, while still working to get to the level he's capable of offensively, is impressive.
"He does make a huge difference for us," Maddon said. "When he's on the field and Javy [Baez] is on the field, we have all of our defense on the field, from the dugout, I promise it feels a whole lot better. We haven't arrived offensively where we want to arrive yet with [Heyward], however, he's been a grand part, a great part of our success the last three years."
Cubs adjusting to new Wrigley dugout
Maddon met with Cubs officials to discuss the new dugouts and some possible changes.
"Everybody expected some kind of adjustment period," Maddon said. "I think the adjustments are minimal. We want something that permits better egress and regress out of the dugout for the hitters and some sightlines from a coaching perspective, too."
Because the dugouts are about 28 feet further down the line, Maddon has a view of home plate from a different angle, and that will take some getting used to. The good news is that he was warm enough.
"It's really a well-designed dugout," Maddon said.
The Cubs also noticed that the grass is playing fast.
"They just had to put that turf down late," Maddon said. "You're seeing a compressed bluegrass. It almost plays like a Bermuda cut. It's quick -- there's a lot of topspin on the ball. It'll slow down."
Maddon's foundation pitches in
Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation joined the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Sports Fields, Inc., and Clearwater for Youth to ensure the Kiwanis Club Miracle League of the Gulf Beaches will have a baseball season this spring. The Miracle League provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball, regardless of their abilities.
The league's original rubber field was installed in 2006 and had deteriorated enough to force the cancellation of the '17 fall season because of safety concerns. The Respect 90 Foundation led the effort to build a new field, which will be installed in time for the season opener on Saturday.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.