Ross feels right at home with the Cubs

Maddon likes having trio of catchers club has on roster

Ross feels right at home with the Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- All David Ross has asked of his new Cubs teammates so far is to guide him so he doesn't go to the wrong field for drills. Ross may not know his way around the Cubs' complex, but he can definitely handle a pitching staff. And so can the Cubs' other two catchers.

"From the other dugout, I've always known the benefits that [Ross] brought to a team," manager Joe Maddon said Sunday, "and then you get to converse with him and be with him, and it's true. He's just a different man."

What Maddon likes is how much Ross understands the game. And they've only been together three days. Ross is still getting to know everyone.

"I've introduced myself to some guys three or four times," Ross said Sunday.

Ross wasn't signed to a two-year deal simply to keep Jon Lester happy. The Cubs like Ross' experience and leadership, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein sold the catcher on what they're trying to do in Chicago.

"I think this is one of the places to be in Major League Baseball," Ross said. "Joe said it the other day, 'This is the spot to be.' I believe that, too, whether Jon Lester is here or not. These guys came in to play [the Red Sox] last year, and kicked our tail. I saw it firsthand, and faced Jake Arrieta. He was the best pitcher I faced all last year with my limited at-bats. He was a true top-of-the-rotation starter."

The Cubs not only have Ross but veteran catchers Miguel Montero and Welington Castillo, who has been the starter the last two seasons. Maddon is high on the trio.

"You get three catchers like that in the same area code, that's pretty good," Maddon said.

The Cubs have had three top catchers on a roster before. In 1991, Joe Girardi, Damon Berryhill and Rick Wilkins were together on the team.

While Ross, who turns 38 next month, will likely be matched up with Lester as he was in Boston, Maddon will talk to Montero, 31, about how many games he wants to catch. The manager already knows the answer will be as many as possible.

Former Cubs Mark DeRosa and Ryan Dempster helped sell Ross on leaving Boston, as did Anthony Rizzo, who went with the catcher to a Notre Dame-Florida State football game.

Ross knows about expectations. He said Red Sox fans "expect greatness every night," and he experienced the same feeling at Wrigley Field.

"I know what a great place this can be to play in and win," Ross said. "If you don't want to win in a spot like this, something's wrong. If you win in Chicago, that's going to be the party I want to join."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.