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Notes: Veteran leadership; Ross on Amaya

@MLBastian
February 14, 2020

MESA, Ariz. -- The way the Cubs' pitching groups have been organized for workouts this spring, veterans are mixed in with younger arms. That has been one way for Chicago to accomplish manager David Ross' goal of having the established leaders impacting the up-and-comers. Between drills, for example, veteran lefty

MESA, Ariz. -- The way the Cubs' pitching groups have been organized for workouts this spring, veterans are mixed in with younger arms. That has been one way for Chicago to accomplish manager David Ross' goal of having the established leaders impacting the up-and-comers.

Between drills, for example, veteran lefty José Quintana and Adbert Alzolay have spent a lot of time in conversation while moving around the practice fields. Ross pointed out that veteran lefty Jon Lester hung around the bullpen mounds on Thursday morning to watch a couple throwing sessions from other pitchers in camp.

"I don't know that I've ever seen Jon do something like that," said Ross, who noted that veteran closer Craig Kimbrel did the same on Friday morning after completing his throwing workout.

This has been one of the concepts that Ross has hammered home throughout the offseason and in the early days of Spring Training. The new manager does not want players to feel like they are going through a workout day on their own. Ross wants a collaborative environment in which the veterans share their knowledge based on years of experience and success.

That is something Ross has been going over in his one-on-one meetings with the veterans over the past few days.

"I expect him to use me as an example both on the good side and the bad side," Lester said. "I’ve made plenty of mistakes in this game. He was there for a lot of them and we learned from that and moved on. Like I said, I expect him to use me in a lot of situations, so it’s something that won’t surprise me. We had a good talk."

Ross on Amaya
Catching prospect Miguel Amaya (No. 95 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects list) was added to the Cubs' 40-man roster over the offseason and is in big league camp for the first time. Ross said the goal for a player like the 20-year-old Amaya this spring should be to build relationships with the right pitchers and be a sponge around the Major League catchers.

"I speak for a lot of the young guys. It's a lot of listen, keep your eyes open," Ross said. "There's a lot of great players here. A lot of big league All-Stars that will be floating around. So, I'm getting a lot of good feedback [on Amaya]. He's got good energy. I like the way he works. He's connecting with the right kids. He's connecting with the right players.

"I love the way he goes about his business, but he is a first-time big league camp [player] and it's that guy that, now's the time to sit back, listen, pay your dues and see how everybody gets their work in."

Amaya could be headed to Double-A Tennessee to begin the upcoming season.

Worth noting
• Most of the Cubs' position players have already reported to camp, including shortstop Javier Báez, who went through a workout at the facility on Friday morning. Ross was asked if he expected there to be any distractions when Kris Bryant arrives, given the trade rumors that hovered over the third baseman all offseason.

"I don't anticipate any of that," Ross said. "Kris has been dealing with a lot throughout his career and expectations and the spotlight being on him since the time I've met him. That guy is solid mentally and a focused human being. To deal with what he's had to deal with and procude the way he's produced, I don't know how he's done it."

• Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Cubs, is scheduled to undergo his physical to complete the deal in the coming days. Chicago's position players are not required to report until Sunday, with the first full-squad workout on Monday.

• Right-hander Brandon Morrow (non-roster invitee) had his scheduled bullpen session on Thursday pushed back due to illness. Morrow played catch on Friday, but pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said the Cubs are waiting for the pitcher to be back at full strength before returning to the mound in the coming days.

• Single-game tickets for the Cubs will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Feb. 21 and will be available at cubs.com. Fans can secure tickets prior to the general on-sale date by taking part in the online Mastercard presale, beginning Tuesday. Visit Cubs.com/MCPresale for full details.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.