CHICAGO -- It's not a surprise to manager Joe Maddon that Jason Heyward received a top defensive award.On Thursday night, Heyward was presented the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award in a pregame ceremony. Heyward was named the best defensive right fielder in 2015; this is the second straight
CHICAGO -- It's not a surprise to manager Joe Maddon that Jason Heyward received a top defensive award.
On Thursday night, Heyward was presented the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award in a pregame ceremony. Heyward was named the best defensive right fielder in 2015; this is the second straight season he's won the award.
"He's a technician," Maddon said of Heyward, who made a perfect running catch of Scott Schebler's ball leading off the Reds' fourth on Wednesday. "From our angle last night, the ball, that low line drive that he caught, how he broke to the ball, how low he stayed and how his dive was just perfect, perfectly timed -- the moment he broke, he knew he was going to catch that ball."
Some of that can be taught, Maddon said, but Heyward has good instincts and is able to move quickly to the ball and read the swing of the bat.
"I've had some really good outfielders, but he's right up there," Maddon said. "He's technically really sound. And why? Because he cares about it. He works at it in a way that's not surprising."
Asked if he'd ever seen a right fielder like Heyward, Maddon quipped: "Not since Roberto [Clemente]."
• Javier Baez went 2-for-4 on Thursday in his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Iowa and is expected to join the Cubs on Friday for the start of their weekend series against the Rockies. Baez started at left field and then switched to second base. Baez jammed his left thumb sliding headfirst into first base on March 16 in a Spring Training game.
• Kyle Schwarber may not be able to play after tearing two ligaments in his left knee, but he's still working as a catcher. Schwarber is breaking down the pitchers' performances and giving reports to coach Mike Borzello. Schwarber was to have been matched up with pitcher Jason Hammel this season to help his development as a catcher.
Maddon believes these reports will keep Schwarber "connected. You've got to keep him connected."
Schwarber was playing left field when he tore both his ACL and LCL in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler on April 7. No date has been set for the surgery on the knee.
• Left-hander Eric Jokisch was claimed off waivers by the Marlins on Thursday. Jokisch, who was drafted in the 11th round in 2010, spent the majority of the past two seasons at Triple-A Iowa.
Lefty Tyler Ihrig was promoted from Class A Myrtle Beach to Iowa to take Jokisch's spot. Ihrig made one spot start for Iowa last May 12 and gave up two runs off five hits over five innings. Left-hander Giovanni Soto, acquired from the Indians for cash on April 11, also reported to Iowa Thursday.
• Kris Bryant made his second start in the outfield on Thursday. What's the biggest transition he needs to make to move from third base?
"Different glove," Maddon said. "This guy is so at ease with all of that."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.