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Maddon: End-of-rotation issues 'fixable'

CHICAGO -- Chicago starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester have done well, but Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks and Dan Haren have had a tougher time since the All-Star break. Is Cubs manager Joe Maddon worried?

"If there were health issues, I'd be more concerned," Maddon said Wednesday. "If there was something like, 'My shoulder is barking a bit,' that would be my greater concern."

Hammel is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in his last seven starts, and has not finished the sixth inning in any of those games. Hendricks is reviewing video from his Double-A days to try to get back on track. Haren is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his three starts with Chicago.

"During the course of the year, guys are always going to go through struggles," Maddon said. "I think Jason is very fixable, I think Kyle is very fixable. I've used the word competing, and Danny Haren competes very well. I really think we can work through the issues of Jason and Kyle."

Kyle Schwarber not only is helping the Cubs on offense, but also making it a little easier on the other Cubs rookies.

"It's nice to have him here, because he does well and he takes some of the attention away, and rightfully so," rookie Kris Bryant said of Schwarber, who entered Wednesday with nine RBIs in his last five games, including a three-run home run on Tuesday, and was batting .310.

Bryant knows his fellow rookie will experience some valleys along with the peaks.

"It's not that easy," Bryant said. "But I don't have to go up there and get a hit every time with runners in scoring position, because he does it every time. It makes it a little easier for all of us."

Maddon admitted he can't wait to see how Bryant, Schwarber, Addison Russell and the other rookies play in years to come.

"In my mind's eye, I'm looking at what it will look like a year or two from now, when they really understand everything," Maddon said. "Let's keep attempting to teach them the way, accepting the mistakes. If you don't accept the mistakes, you're crazy."

Bryant knows all about the ups and downs of the season. After batting .168 in July, he's entered Wednesday hitting .294 in 15 games this month. Bryant knows fans' expectations are high.

"It's really good for me to go through this," Bryant said. "I hope people understand that it's good for us to go through this. [Anthony Rizzo] did it -- he struggled. Look at him now, he's one of the best players in the big leagues. Two years ago, he'd probably tell you the same thing I'm saying now. It's all good for us."

• The Cubs and Tigers wore throwback uniforms Wednesday from 1945, which was the last year the Cubs played in the World Series. They lost in seven games. It also was the year the so-called "Curse of the Billy Goat" was placed on the Cubs.

"I didn't realize that was the year," Maddon said. "It was also the World Series year, wasn't it? Let's bring that back."

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