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Dance angst? Cishek unsure skills are up to par

Reliever joins HOFer Sandberg to help beautify Chicago high school
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- New Cubs reliever Steve Cishek is looking forward to having a more regular lifestyle, eating breakfast and dinner with family because of all the day games at Wrigley Field. But the right-hander admits he needs to work on his dance moves if he's going to fit into the Cubs' bullpen.

Cishek, 31, joined Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg at an assembly at Kilmer Elementary School, part of the Cubs' service day efforts to spruce up the building.

CHICAGO -- New Cubs reliever Steve Cishek is looking forward to having a more regular lifestyle, eating breakfast and dinner with family because of all the day games at Wrigley Field. But the right-hander admits he needs to work on his dance moves if he's going to fit into the Cubs' bullpen.

Cishek, 31, joined Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg at an assembly at Kilmer Elementary School, part of the Cubs' service day efforts to spruce up the building.

Cishek has already updated his Twitter profile to include a photo of himself and his wife with the Chicago skyline in the background. He'll get a full blast at the 33rd annual Cubs Convention, which begins Friday.

The Cubs were one of 10 teams on Cishek's list. A Massachusetts native, he watched Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein when he was with the Red Sox.

Tweet from @Cubs: It���s #Cubs service day! We���re beautifying and developing sensory spaces at Kilmer Elementary School. 🎨 pic.twitter.com/lLJFehM5NU

"Ever since Theo came here [to the Cubs], it seems like he had a plan," Cishek said. "Now look what happened -- they win a World Series two years ago and they're still building to try to continue to have a franchise that's the best in baseball. You see that as a ballplayer and you want to be part of that. I was more than flattered to be able to just receive a phone call showing interest. To be here is pretty surreal."

Playing for the Cubs as opposed to the Marlins, Mariners or Rays -- all clubs he has played for since 2015 -- has other perks. For one, the travel is easier. Cishek wasn't aware that some players drive back and forth between Chicago and Milwaukee for games. He'll be reunited with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who is in his first season in Chicago.

Cishek also likes the idea of having the bullpens under the bleachers where there's shade in the summer and warmth in the early spring and fall. As soon as he signed his two-year, $13 million contract in mid December, friends sent Cishek GIFs of the Chicago relievers dancing in the bullpen, which they do after a Cubs player hits a home run.

"My dance skills are not up to par with some of those guys," Cishek said.

He has reached out to his Rays teammate Alex Cobb, a free agent whom the Cubs have reportedly talked to.

Video: Rosenthal on Cubs signing Steve Cishek

"He worked so hard to get to this point in his career, he might as well enjoy it," Cishek said. "[The market] is just moving a little slower than we all thought. It'd be nice to see him in a Cubs uniform. He's a tremendous teammate, a good friend and obviously a tremendous competitor and somebody you want on your team."

Cishek gives former Marlins manager Jack McKeon some credit for his unique delivery. The right-hander said he was throwing nearly every day off the mound when he was called up to the Marlins and his arm got tired and his arm slot dropped as well.

"I've been the same, similar arm angle as long as I can remember," Cishek said. "I don't know how to throw any other way. They tried to make me throw over the top one year and it was a disaster."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Steve Cishek