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Maddon: 'It's a really exciting time to be a Cub'

New manager talks to roster, coaching staff following first workout

MESA, Ariz. -- On Friday, Joe Maddon put on the third Major League uniform of his career, and it fit well.

The new Cubs manager oversaw the first workout by pitchers and catchers on Friday. Maddon joins the Cubs after managerial stints with the Angels (1996, '99) and Rays (2006-14).

"Putting on a different uniform was different, but I've been making a good mental transition over the course of the winter time," Maddon said. "Standing in Mesa, Ariz., is not unusual to me. This is where I cut my teeth professionally as a young manager [with the Angels], and I did point that out to the players, so that part was familiar. Once everything starts rolling around, everything becomes familiar."

Maddon talked to the pitchers, catchers, coaching staff and medical staff for a half hour prior to the first workout. His message to the players was that he was honored to be their manager.

"It's a really exciting time to be a Cub," Maddon said.

He didn't post a long list of rules for the players to follow. Maddon isn't strict about how players wear their socks or whether they have long hair or tattoos. He used to have long hair when he played, and said he was proud of that. He did admit that he can't grow a beard.

Still, after spending nine years in Florida with the Rays, it had to feel a little strange Friday.

"Honestly, I was more comfortable than I thought I would be," Maddon said.

• Maddon had a chance to watch Javier Baez play two games in Puerto Rico this winter and was impressed by the infielder's lateral mobility, how he took charge on the field and his throwing.

"I didn't realize he was as good in the infield," Maddon said of Baez, who made his Major League debut with the Cubs last season. "They tell me he's an even better shortstop than second baseman, and he was really good at second base."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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