The next Cubs-Red Sox showdown could be over Sveum

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The next Cubs-Red Sox showdown could be over Sveum

MILWAUKEE Dale Sveum believes you should never let the players see how youre feeling inside. He thinks thats a clear sign of weakness for a manager.

Sveum will need a good poker face when he arrives at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Because the Brewers hitting coach was scheduled to meet again with Cubs executives, perhaps as early as Tuesday night, before sitting down on Wednesday with the Red Sox at the meetings for owners and general managers.

So while Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington continue negotiating over compensation Bostons general manager is still optimistic commissioner Bud Selig wont have to arbitrate the next showdown between the Cubs and Red Sox could be over Sveum.

Sveum is viewed as the heavy favorite in Boston, where he worked as the third-base coach on the forever team that ended an 86-year championship drought and made Epstein a legend throughout New England.

The Cubs followed-up again with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who declined to interview in Boston because it would have created too much distance between his wife and two college-age daughters in Texas.

It sounded like the family still hasnt given a final answer as to whether they could make it work in Chicago.

Its still something that hes weighing. Those considerations havent gone away, general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. Its certainly a big factor. I think its a factor for everyone, (but) in this case, it probably weighs a little more heavily.

Hoyer does not see another candidate being added to the mix. Beyond Maddux and Sveum, the Cubs have interviewed bench coaches Sandy Alomar Jr. (Indians) and Pete Mackanin (Phillies) in person and DeMarlo Hale (Red Sox) by phone.

Sources insist that Terry Francona is not a serious candidate, and hasnt been eliminated from consideration publicly out of respect for the two World Series rings he helped Epstein win in Boston. Epstein has been in contact with Francona, who hasnt spoken with Hoyer during this entire process.

The Cubs and Red Sox wont admit it publicly, but they soon may have to pull the trigger.

The right person to be manager for the Red Sox in 2012 is not necessarily the right person to be manager for the Cubs, Cherington said. They are different jobs, different challenges.

Theyre doing what they need to do and were doing what we need to do. The decisions too important to react to what somebody else is doing. (We) got to take our time and get the right person.

Even with that, theres no silver bullet. (You) got to surround that person with the right people.

That supporting cast will be important because the next managers at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park will almost certainly have little-to-no experience managing at the highest level.

The list of guys that have managed and are available is fairly short, Cherington said. Most successful major-league managers are still successful major-league managers. So we wanted to find the right fit. We feel like we have to at least consider taking a chance on someone who hasnt done it (before).

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin promoted Sveum after Ned Yost was fired late in the 2008 season and watched his team clinch the wild card.

Melvin passed over Sveum because he wanted a new face in the dugout and didnt believe thered necessarily be a carryover effect to the next year with an interim manager. The Cubs certainly found that out with Mike Quade.

Sveum also lost out to Ron Roenicke last year, but it speaks to his knowledge and personality that he survived so many regime changes in Milwaukee.

The word out of Boston and Milwaukee is that Sveum isnt particularly polished in front of the cameras, and wont charm the media with stories. But he absolutely commands respect in the clubhouse. It could be his time now.

Every player that plays in the big leagues was a rookie once, Melvin said, and every guy that manages in the big leagues had to get his start somewhere.

Epstein and Hoyer feel like theyre nearing the decision-making phase where they can put their choice in front of the Ricketts family. They probably would have done this with Sveum over the phone, but he was coming to Milwaukee anyway to see the Red Sox, in whats become a great off-the-field rivalry.

Were not focusing on the Red Sox and what theyre doing, Hoyer said. Were trying to make sure we make the right decision for the Cubs.

Ben Zobrist doubtful for Nationals showdown and where things stand with banged-up Cubs

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist doubtful for Nationals showdown and where things stand with banged-up Cubs

MIAMI – As their World Series MVP continues to deal with a lingering wrist injury, the Cubs aren’t expecting Ben Zobrist back for a showdown against the Washington Nationals. 

“Not yet,” manager Joe Maddon said Saturday at Marlins Park.

Dusty Baker’s Nationals are on pace for close to 100 wins and have the kind of elite power pitching – Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg – Zobrist has shown over and over again that he can handle in the postseason.

The Cubs will roll out a young, inexperienced lineup on Monday at Nationals Park, the beginning of a four-game series and a potential playoff preview. Zobrist injured his left wrist with an awkward swing on Memorial Day weekend and tried to play through it and now might be back closer to the Fourth of July.

The Cubs aren’t even at the point of finalizing the logistics for a Zobrist rehab assignment in the minors.

“We’ve talked about it, but we haven’t said: ‘This is the date,’” Maddon said. “It’s still not in that planning stage yet: ‘OK, this feels good, worked out a couple days and now we’re going to go there on Tuesday.’ We haven’t said that.”

A look at where things stand with the rest of the banged-up Cubs:

• The Cubs expect Kyle Hendricks to test his right hand (tendinitis) and throw by the end of this weekend, with Maddon keeping the door open for a potential return before the All-Star break. 

• The Cubs sidelined Jason Heyward because they could only play shorthanded for so long, but they expected the cut on his left hand to heal before the end of his 10-day stay on the disabled list, which could put him in play for the last game in Washington. 

• Remember Brett Anderson? The talented, injury-prone lefty who made the rotation out of spring training and put up an 8.18 ERA in six starts – before going on the disabled list with a low back strain – will begin his rehab assignment on Sunday at Double-A Tennessee.

• In the middle of an 11-games-in-11-days road trip, Maddon is looking forward to the possibilities with a healthy Zobrist and a productive Ian Happ and what it would mean to have two switch-hitters with defensive flexibility.       

“He’s his Mini-Me right now,” Maddon said. “When you get them both back, it really opens up a lot on a daily basis, regarding giving guys a day off, where do you want to play them, batting-order construction. They’re very versatile players and there are a lot of similarities.”

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

MIAMI – This isn’t a Tommy La Stella situation. The Cubs purposely told Kyle Schwarber to take a few days off to decompress before reporting to Triple-A Iowa. The reboot will begin Monday in Des Moines.

“We’re doing it to hopefully reset him, get him back up with a fresh start,” manager Joe Maddon said. “As you would expect, he was very professional about it, understood it entirely.

“There’s no actual timetable. I don’t anticipate it to be long. But we’ll see how it plays out, give him a little bit of room to get things right and then move it forward from there.”

The Cubs broke the news to Schwarber after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, where the entire lineup went 1-for-27 outside of rookie Ian Happ’s two-run homer. It left Schwarber hitting .171 with a .673 OPS, not enough to justify his 12 home runs and suspect outfield defense. The Iowa Cubs are in the middle of a four-game series this weekend in Round Rock, Texas.

The Cubs hope Schwarber can regain his confidence and almost become a trade-deadline addition, reenergizing the team the way he did in 2015, when he blasted 16 homers in 69 games and five more in the playoffs.

Under entirely different circumstances in 2012, future All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo used 70 games with Iowa to rework his swing and make adjustments after bombing his audition with the Padres.

“He’s going to go down and be able to exhale a little bit,” Rizzo said. “Hopefully, he can smooth things out. We’re all confident he will. Just do the best down there to get back up here and to be the Kyle Schwarber that we all know and love.”