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Let's paint, too? Maddon unveils more Cubs art

Skipper shows off Mona Lisa, Einstein -- with North Side twist
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon added to his Cubs-inspired art collection on Monday, revealing a painting of Mona Lisa wearing eye black, batting gloves and holding a bat, and another of Albert Einstein donning a jersey that says "Skip" and popping out of a box.

The paintings will be added to two others Maddon unveiled when pitchers and catchers had their first workout. It's part of the manager's attempt to put art back into the game of baseball -- and get his message across in a unique way.

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon added to his Cubs-inspired art collection on Monday, revealing a painting of Mona Lisa wearing eye black, batting gloves and holding a bat, and another of Albert Einstein donning a jersey that says "Skip" and popping out of a box.

The paintings will be added to two others Maddon unveiled when pitchers and catchers had their first workout. It's part of the manager's attempt to put art back into the game of baseball -- and get his message across in a unique way.

"We all do our work," Maddon said. "Our guys are good at working, and they're very talented at what they do, but beyond all that, [there is] the feel component of the game, and I want them on a daily basis to be concerned about their enthusiasm and their energy.

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"I really believe if we understand showing up mentally every day with a lot of energy and life, and combine that with what we naturally do anyway, it will permit us to get off to a good start."

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Somehow, Tampa, Fla., artist James Skeldon was able to incorporate Maddon's handwriting and messages on the paintings, so Einstein's physics theory, E=mc2 is translated to "E2=win2" in baseball -- energy and enthusiasm equals wins.

"It's the same stuff, but I try to present it in a different way," Maddon said of his message to the players. "It's important to say the same thing with other words."

Another part of Monday's team meeting included a video of the San Antonio Spurs, focusing on their camaraderie, teamwork, unity and precision. Outfielder Jason Heyward suggested blending what the Spurs do with what the Cubs should focus on.

• The Cubs play their first Cactus League game on Friday against the Brewers. That means the coaches have to condense their drills. Monday was the first full-squad workout. Maddon hopes to address cutoffs and relays, popup communication and rundowns before the first game.

"All this work you do prior to the games, it starts to drag a little bit normally," he said. "This is the first full-squad day -- how many days have [the players] been here? They've been doing hitting. They've been fielding ground balls. They've been running. It's not like it had been where guys showed up and put the old sweat belt on and [drank] some electrolytes and went out there and tried to lose some weight by sweating. That doesn't happen any more."

• Maddon had a chance to talk with Anthony Rizzo on Monday for the first time since the first baseman returned home to Florida to be with family and friends after the shooting at his high school. Rizzo spoke at a prayer vigil in Parkland, Fla.

"I want him to take care of himself," Maddon said. "That's an emotional moment for any one of us. I think people like him tend to be carriers and they will carry other people's weight of emotion. I will encourage him to take care of himself while he's coming back and ease into this situation, because he's been through a lot."

Ben Zobrist did not take part in Monday's workout because of some soreness in his back.

"It's nothing awful," Maddon said. "He's feeling great, actually. [We're] not pushing right now, making sure everybody's well. We've got four days to get ready. Don't push him right now. That's all that is."

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.

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