Heyward, Mallee getting to know each other

Hitting coach impressed with Cubs' new outfielder as they get head start at spring facility

Heyward, Mallee getting to know each other

MESA, Ariz. -- Position players don't need to report to Arizona until Feb. 23, but Jason Heyward and hitting coach John Mallee are already busy at the Cubs' facility getting to know each other.

While the clubhouse staff sorted deliveries of shoes and equipment and some pitchers got a head start at the Cubs' facility, Heyward and Mallee talked hitting and what the outfielder needs to be successful.

Cubs' Spring Training info

"We need that time without distractions so we can watch film together, he can tell me what he likes to do, he can tell me what his strengths are, what he thinks his weaknesses [are]," Mallee said of their first session together on Wednesday. "Over time, seeing him play all these games this spring, I'll be able to help him if he needs any help."

Part of the process is finding out what Heyward likes to do pregame, what he wants from advance scouting reports and what information he needs after pitching changes.

"They're such professionals," Mallee said of new additions Heyward and Ben Zobrist. "They make it real easy on me. They're very polite, and they've been in the game a long time. It's just sitting down and talking with them and watching their routines and seeing what makes them work and what they're good at and what they think they need to improve on, those types of things."

Heyward's routine has worked. Last year, he batted .293 for the Cardinals, hitting 13 home runs and a career-high 33 doubles.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio likes to play golf with his pitchers. Mallee says he has enough time around the batting cages to chat. The hitting coach did call both Heyward and Zobrist in the offseason to introduce himself and get an idea as to when they wanted to start in Arizona.

"It's a learning curve for me," Mallee said. "Coming down early gave me time to not worry about structuring everything and all the practices. It was just [Heyward] and I alone, so I could get to learn more about him."

Malee sees both Heyward and Zobrist bringing more than just new bats to the lineup. The Cubs did reach the National League Championship Series last season, but Mallee is eager to have Heyward and Zobrist talk to the young players to help them take that next step.

"With Jason and with Ben, they've been through the wars," Mallee said. "These kids [on the Cubs] last year went through the war for the first time. These guys have been through it. They've been with players who have been successful. Whether it's situational or having an approach against a certain type of pitcher -- those type of things, those guys have stood in the box and done it and have had success. They're very articulate and very team-type guys."

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