Maddon excited to see Cubs' depth at work

Maddon excited to see Cubs' depth at work

MESA, Ariz. -- It's a different spring for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who has a more talented roster than he's ever had.

"It's different. I'm not going to deny that," Maddon said on Tuesday. "It's kind of fun. The challenge will be to keep them all happy, but everybody has put their ego in their back pocket. Everybody's here to win. ... There's one objective here, and that's to win."

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The Cubs are hoping they have enough depth, and the addition of players like outfielders Dexter Fowler and Shane Victorino certainly helps. Maddon can't wait for the games to begin. The Cubs open Cactus League play Thursday against the Brewers.

"I just want to watch us play for the next couple weeks, and I think just by watching us play, not to trying to evaluate performance but trying to sort out mentally where do all these different parts fit," Maddon said. "You can write it all on a piece of paper, but I like watching."

Worth noting

• Yutaka Sudo, 78, a former manager of the Tokyo Giants, was in Cubs camp on Tuesday. Sudo's teams would face Maddon's Angels squads during instructional league games in Mesa 30 years ago.

"I call him 'Skipper-san,'" Maddon said of Sudo, who lives in Arizona for three months of the year.

As Sudo was leaving, he told Maddon that he would be at Wrigley Field to watch a World Series game.

"You will be my guest," Maddon responded.

• Outfielder Matt Murton has been slowed after needing surgery to have his appendix removed. Murton, 34, is a non-roster invitee in camp, rejoining the Cubs after playing six seasons in Japan with Hanshin.

• Cubs players had a shorter workout Tuesday so they could take part in a golf outing. Lackey was paired with pitcher Rex Brothers.

"I'm hoping he's good. I'm not that good," Lackey said. "A couple years from now, I'll be able to work on [golf] a lot."

Maddon was matched up with reliever Justin Grimm.

"We've already made a pact. He's going to get us off the tee and I'll cover the short game," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for 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.