Maddon wants to manage Cubs beyond 2019

Veteran skipper confident club will initiate extension talks

August 28th, 2018
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon looks out from his dugout during warmups before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Alex Gallardo/AP

CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon was surprised by a report that his job status was "tenuous" if he didn't get the Cubs deep into the postseason this year. Maddon also said he'd like to return when his contract expires after the 2019 season.

"I don't get it, I don't understand it," Maddon said on Tuesday of the USA Today report that did not cite any sources. "It's very uninteresting to me. I'm under contract, I'm very happy with what I'm doing. When the time is appropriate, I'm sure we'll discuss it further."

Maddon didn't know about the story until he was asked during his weekly radio show on Tuesday. The story noted that Maddon, the Angels' Mike Scioscia and the Giants' Bruce Bochy were the highest paid managers in the Majors.

Would Maddon like a contract extension?

"Of course I want to come back, but it doesn't matter to me when it's resolved," Maddon said. "I mean that sincerely. I'm not concerned about that stuff. I always believe when you work in a situation like here with the quality people you work with, you rely on them to make that decision at the appropriate time. I don't even think about it. If [the media doesn't] ask this question, I swear to you I have not thought about it once."

Morrow yet to throw

Right-hander has been on the disabled list since July 18 with right biceps inflammation and he has yet to throw off a mound since being sidelined. His rehab has been slow.

"He is doing better," Maddon said of the Cubs' projected closer this season. "He's reported that he's not feeling anything after he's throwing. We're optimistic, but we haven't put a date down -- 'We're going to get him on the mound,' 'We're going to do a sim game.' It's just small victories now that we feel he's doing better. ... We're getting closer to having to start to figure out when is the right time to get him on the mound doing regular pitching things."

Morrow is not expected back until September and he won't make a Minor League rehab appearance. The Minor League seasons end early next week. Maddon also said when Morrow does return, he will not automatically be inserted back into the closer's role.

"No. That would be a bad assumption from me," Maddon said. "You have to build him back into that role and find out where he's at. Even if you want to use him in the ninth inning, I can't imaging a back-to-back nights kind of thing. You would think that by the end of [September], that you can do something like that, but I don't think you throw him into that."

Morrow's biggest contributions may not be until the postseason. The Cubs entered Tuesday with the best record in the National League.

Russell resumes activities

Shortstop , nursing a left middle finger sprain and right shoulder inflammation, played catch on Tuesday, his first day of baseball activities since he was shut down on Aug. 20.

Russell said his shoulder is healing faster than his hand, which he's been dealing with most of the season.

"Early on, it was pretty difficult [to swing]," Russell said of the hand injury. "Whenever it initially happened, everything was actually flowing for me better in the box. Really, it's just like I said, I manage it. I go in and get my treatment. It's something I deal with."

He's looking ahead to the postseason as well.

"I know this back stretch [in September] will be pretty important as far as getting myself ready and primed up for the postseason," Russell said. "Hopefully, there's fireworks when I come back and [I can] continue the process of my development."

Worth noting

• Maddon hinted that Wednesday's lineup against Mets left-hander will be "interesting." The skipper is trying to give some of the Cubs' regulars a day off during this stretch of 23 consecutive games.

• The Cubs' upcoming four-city trip -- which includes a makeup game on Thursday in Atlanta -- is a football themed trip. Players and staff will be wearing jerseys of their favorite players.