Maddon understands rebuild of intracity rivals

Cubs manager went through similar process while with Tampa Bay

May 11th, 2018

CHICAGO -- Can you imagine what it would be like if the Cubs and White Sox met in the World Series?

"I'd love to be there for that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday prior to the start of the intracity Interleague series between the two teams. "That probably is the epitome. When we got here, of course, the goal was to get there and win it, and we have [in 2016], and we're looking to get back. To do it intracity like that wold be pretty spectacular. Talk about energy -- oh, my God. I hope I'm around for that moment to occur. I think it would be pretty spectacular."

The White Sox last won the World Series in 2005, but this season has been more about rebuilding and having young players get experience. Maddon knows what that's like. His 2006 Devil Rays team lost 101 games, and they followed that with a 66-96 record in '07. In '08, the Rays reached the World Series.

What helped the turnaround? Maddon said it was a balance of veteran players with the youngsters.

"We started to get some veterans around the young guys in the clubhouse, which really mattered," Maddon said of the acquisitions of Danny Wheeler, Troy Percival, Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske.

"The influence in the clubhouse among these young guys was key," Maddon said. "You cannot analytically determine how important that was. I think as this [current White Sox team] continues on, they have some really fine young players. The point about it to me is we were good youth-wise and made a nice trade or two, but it was the veterans who grab you by the scruff of the neck sometimes and say, 'You don't do that around here.'"

Percival, Floyd and Hinske were the key pieces in the Rays' turnaround.

"At first, the young guys are totally happy to be there and the perks that go with it, and you've got to get them beyond that," Maddon said. "They have to understand it's really easy to lose, but it's very difficult to win."

Worth noting

, on the disabled list with flu-like symptoms, will be activated on Tuesday and start against the Braves in Atlanta. Darvish is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, when the Cubs play a makeup game against the Braves at Wrigley Field. But Maddon said they are going to take advantage of Thursday's off-day and give the right-hander an extra day.

will start Monday against the Braves, pitching on regular rest.

• Maddon said athletic trainer PJ Mainville reported that outfielder , on the seven-day concussion disabled list, had a "good day" on Wednesday. The Cubs had Thursday off, and Maddon had yet to check on Heyward's status on Friday. Heyward was injured trying to catch 's walk-off home run on Sunday night in St. Louis.