Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Sandberg praises Cubs' incredible performance

Hall of Fame second baseman has 'never seen Wrigley Field like this'
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg said this Cubs season has been unlike any other, and it's not just because the team clinched the National League Central earlier than ever before. He credited the young players for the good vibe at Wrigley Field.

"It's pretty impressive," the Hall of Famer said of the young club. "It shows the talent level that they have and the job the Cubs did on scouting players to get them here so quickly and to be such good players, to be All-Star-caliber players after one year, two years in the Minor Leagues. That's almost unheard of. What that also does is open some windows for them to be here for years to come and do well.

Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg said this Cubs season has been unlike any other, and it's not just because the team clinched the National League Central earlier than ever before. He credited the young players for the good vibe at Wrigley Field.

"It's pretty impressive," the Hall of Famer said of the young club. "It shows the talent level that they have and the job the Cubs did on scouting players to get them here so quickly and to be such good players, to be All-Star-caliber players after one year, two years in the Minor Leagues. That's almost unheard of. What that also does is open some windows for them to be here for years to come and do well.

Full Game Coverage

"The players are easy to pull for because of the way they are as people and the way they act on the field. They do all the right things, they celebrate when you're supposed to, and they've been able to celebrate often. Obviously, the fans get to feed off that. I've never seen Wrigley like this from the first of April to now. Every day is the same atmosphere from the first inning on, and that's all new to me. It makes it a lot of fun."

Video: Cubs return to postseason by clinching NL Central

Sandberg, 56, who played for the Cubs from 1982-94 and again from '96-97, didn't stay up to wait for the results of the Giants-Cardinals game. San Francisco's win helped Chicago secure the division.

"I came up about a half an hour short," Sandberg said. "I was [at Wrigley] for the game, and then came up a little short. It was my first check on my phone this morning. I wasn't surprised. I saw the 4-2 lead when I went to bed."

The Giants won, 6-2.

• The Cubs were encouraged by Pedro Strop's bullpen session on Thursday and they hope the reliever can pitch in a few regular-season games. He's been on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and he threw 22 pitches in his first bullpen session on Thursday.

"He had a good session [Thursday]," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said on Friday. "We're still listening to the trainers. He'll pitch in a game."

Maddon and the coaching staff are still deciding whether Mike Montgomery will get another start or switch to the bullpen. Montgomery made his fifth start as the sixth man on Thursday.

Video: CHC@MIL: Montgomery strikes out Santana swinging

How the Cubs will use their pitchers now that they've clinched the NL Central will be discussed on Saturday when Maddon meets with the coaches.

"The biggest thing will be rest," Maddon said of his game plan for the final 15 games. "If you're rested a couple days, all of a sudden you start to feel right again. You get fatigued and [then say], 'I just can't get the bat there,' and [after rest] the hands feel quicker. Those are the kind of things I want to focus on."

Kyle Schwarber, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the year, is the narrator for the Cubs' video celebrating their NL Central win. Schwarber, who tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee, will not be ready to play until 2017.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago Cubs