Cubs seeking more offense out of Alcantara

Club to continue using him at multiple positions

Cubs seeking more offense out of Alcantara

MESA, Ariz. -- When Joe Maddon was looking at video of some of the Cubs shortly after he took the job as manager one year ago, Arismendy Alcantara got his attention. Alcantara had played second, shortstop and some outfield, and Maddon thought he could develop into a versatile, Ben Zobrist-type player.

Alcantara was on the Cubs' Opening Day roster, but was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after going 2-for-26 in 32 games.

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"It was a bad year, and this is a new year, this year," Alcantara said Thursday. "I just have to play the game, and have fun."

Maddon said they will continue to use Alcantara at multiple positions.

"Overall, the offensive side has not played up the way we thought it would," Maddon said. "The big thing for him is to get his offensive form back. He still is versatile and can play all over the place. You can see him in the infield, in the outfield, he can run. He's got to hit more to be considered more highly at this point. He's young. It pretty much revolves around his offense."

Some in the organization thought Alcantara, 24, had lost confidence. He batted .231 at Iowa, then played with Licey in the Dominican Republic winter league. Was confidence the problem?

"Not confidence," Alcantara said. "Sometimes we think a lot, we think too much, and when we play, we try to do too much. I need to just do the little things. I just have to relax, play the game, practice hard and enjoy the game."

• The Cubs are honoring catcher David Ross with a year-long retirement party, and on Thursday, presented the veteran with a motorized cart to handle his bats and gear, complete with personalized license plates that say "GDPA" for grandpa and also "Ross 3."

• The second "Respect Bald" fundraiser will be held Saturday near Field 1 at Sloan Park before the game against the Reds. Players and coaches will get their heads shaved to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Fans can get a trim, too, for a $100 donation. The event will begin at 11 a.m. MT. Last year, the event raised more than $15,000.

"Let's see if we gain any momentum from last year," Maddon said.

He's interested to see how many of the single players take part.

"To get their heads shaved to show support, that guy to me, I really appreciate that a lot," Maddon said.

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.