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Maddon expects Cubs to keep roster intact

Says if club makes move by Deadline, it likely wouldn't involve 25-man
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MILWAUKEE -- If the Cubs make a move before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, manager Joe Maddon said it would most likely be for someone in their Minor League system and they would not lose a player from the 25-man roster.

"I know we like our guys, we like our team," Maddon said before Saturday's game against the Brewers. "I don't talk to [the front office] on a daily basis about [possible trades] -- they come to me when they've got something cooking, and I prefer it being that way. I like this group [of players] here a lot. I think we have all the ingredients we need and there are some dudes at Triple-A who can help us, too.

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MILWAUKEE -- If the Cubs make a move before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, manager Joe Maddon said it would most likely be for someone in their Minor League system and they would not lose a player from the 25-man roster.

"I know we like our guys, we like our team," Maddon said before Saturday's game against the Brewers. "I don't talk to [the front office] on a daily basis about [possible trades] -- they come to me when they've got something cooking, and I prefer it being that way. I like this group [of players] here a lot. I think we have all the ingredients we need and there are some dudes at Triple-A who can help us, too.

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"Whatever the boys [in the front office] decide, I'll be fine with it," Maddon said. "I don't necessarily see a subtraction among the position players -- or anybody really. I'd be surprised if addition came by subtraction."

The Cubs are reportedly in the market for an experienced backup catcher, although Maddon repeated that he likes rookie Victor Caratini. The only concern is if Caratini's development is being hindered because he's not playing more regularly.

Video: PIT@CHC: Caratini hammers double for first MLB RBI

Even if some Cubs are struggling, Maddon says they just need to be patient.

"You're not going to nail it down for 162 games on an annual basis without any bumps," Maddon said. "It's impossible to do that. The work ethic is good, all that stuff I love. I expected the waves of the roller coaster. Long term, as these guys continue to become better Major League players, they'll keep getting better."

So, if the Cubs don't make a deal, Maddon is OK with their chances in the National League Central?

"Of course -- totally good," Maddon said.

• The Cubs tweaked the rotation to accommodate Jon Lester, who attended the funeral of his uncle. Lester will open the Cubs' series against the D-backs on Tuesday and be followed by Jake Arrieta on Wednesday and Jose Quintana on Thursday. Because of Monday's off-day, Lester will be pitching on regular rest.

Jason Heyward robbed Ryan Braun of a home run with a catch at the wall Friday night. It seems as if Heyward will catch everything hit to right.

Video: Must C Catch: Heyward takes homer away from Braun

"He's so good out there," Maddon said. "First of all, he positions himself so well even before the ball is even hit. He's got this little radar thing. He moves toward the line at the right time, he moves in the gap at the right time.

"He pays attention, he watches swings, he moves. He's very good at what he does," Maddon said of the four-time Gold Glove Award winner. "Balls hit in that direction, you expect the routine but you expect the spectacular, too."

• Maddon watched as Anthony Rizzo bunted right-handed during batting practice. Being versatile enough to be a switch hitter isn't necessary, but Maddon would like some of the other hitters to follow Rizzo's lead and choke up on the bat in an attempt to make contact.

"He's a standard setter," Maddon said of Rizzo. "[Joey Votto] and him are among the best power-hitter combos who are willing to adapt to the pitcher as the count gets deeper and do something that will benefit him and the team. It's something I'd like to see more of our guys do."

However, this is something that's best taught at the Minor League level, and not in late July in the Majors.

"I want guys who can hit with power do what Rizzo does," Maddon said. "As the count gets deeper, move the baseball, give us a shot to score with a single, accept your walk, make this pitcher throw more pitches -- that's what I want to see us morph into as an offensive organization."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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