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Schwarber's ability to catch a luxury for Cubs

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon wasn't ready to announce when Kyle Schwarber might catch in a Spring Training game. Just knowing that he'll have Schwarber on the Cubs' roster as the third catcher is comforting.

"When you have two catchers, you'll play Willson [Contreras] and [Miguel Montero], you know something may happen in the latter part of the game," Maddon said Friday. "From a managerial perspective, knowing you have a third catcher under those circumstances is very comforting."

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon wasn't ready to announce when Kyle Schwarber might catch in a Spring Training game. Just knowing that he'll have Schwarber on the Cubs' roster as the third catcher is comforting.

"When you have two catchers, you'll play Willson [Contreras] and [Miguel Montero], you know something may happen in the latter part of the game," Maddon said Friday. "From a managerial perspective, knowing you have a third catcher under those circumstances is very comforting."

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Schwarber, who is coming back after tearing two ligaments in his left knee, started in left field Thursday night against the D-backs, and he ran a nice route to catch a ball. His play in the outfield has gone well.

"He is a left fielder slash catcher right now," Maddon said. "Maybe as the years progress and the knee gets better, we'll look at him differently, but for right now, him understanding all of that is very important to his success and ours."

Video: Maddon discusses Rizzo's back tightness

Worth noting

Anthony Rizzo could return to the Cubs' lineup on Saturday. Rizzo was scratched from Thursday's game because of stiffness in his lower back.

"I want him to play, he wants to play," Maddon said. "We've seen him in the past when he comes in with a little bit of a stiff back and it goes away pretty quickly."

• On Friday, Aiden Hawk, 14, could forget about the four rare diseases he's dealing with, including kidney disease. He was happy for his 11-year-old brother, Mason, who got to meet his favorite Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta. The Hawks were guests of Maddon's "Respect 90" foundation and treated to a day at Cubs camp.

"He's a great kid -- you'd never know there's something wrong with him," Maddon said of Aiden, who underwent a liver transplant, then developed the other diseases. "He really wanted to do this for his little brother."

The two boys, accompanied by their parents, Lisa and Joe, were flown to Mesa from their home in St. Petersburg, Fla., and got to meet Arrieta, Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist and Schwarber. Plus, they sang the seventh-inning stretch at Friday's game.

• Bench coach Dave Martinez is responsible for the Spring Training lineups, and his combination on Friday prompted Maddon to dub it the NASA or Cape Canaveral lineup. If you list the players according to their position numbers, it was 9-8-7-6-DH-5-4-3-2.

"It was totally unintentional," Maddon said.

• Prospect Carson Sands, who was the Cubs' fourth-round pick in 2014, underwent surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow. If all goes well in the pitcher's rehab, he could be back in action by June. The news wasn't as good for right-hander Corey Black, who underwent Tommy John surgery this week. Black will be out for the year.

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.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber