Throwing program has Olt's shoulder feeling 'amazing'

Cubs third baseman moves past recent issues

Throwing program has Olt's shoulder feeling 'amazing'

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs third baseman Mike Olt couldn't figure out why the 14,000-plus fans were cheering when he made a diving stop of Alexi Amarista's hard-hit ball in the Padres' fourth inning. Olt dove, snared the ball, scrambled to his feet and threw off balance to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and even though the throw wasn't in time, it was close.

"I don't remember," Olt said Tuesday of the play. "It's one of those things that just happened so fast."

He hadn't even looked at any video of it.

"I was like, 'Why is everyone cheering for me? I didn't make the play,'" Olt said. "I guess it was crazier than I thought."

It was.

"I didn't think he had any chance whatsoever and he turned it into something close," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

All Olt cared about was that he could make the throw. Last season, and even before that, his right shoulder has been an issue.

"My shoulder has been the best it's ever felt," the third baseman said of this spring. "Ever since I started doing a throwing program and working with it in the offseason, it's night and day. Even with Texas, I've always had a stint when it's bothered me. It feels amazing now and really strong, the strongest it's been."

There's no way Olt makes a throw like he did Monday unless he's healthy.

"Last year, when I first started throwing, it was tough to make a very routine throw, having that tightness in there," he said. "Now it's ready."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.