Ex-Hoosier Schwarber is banking on Indiana

Ex-Hoosier Schwarber is banking on Indiana

MESA, Ariz. -- Kyle Schwarber is very loyal to Indiana, and hoping the Hoosiers go far in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

"They're one of the best teams in the country if they can shoot and they play good defense," said Schwarber, who played baseball at the Big Ten school. "It's the big stage -- hopefully they can show up and play their game well."

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The Cubs outfielder/catcher had yet to complete his NCAA tournament bracket, but he said he may pick Indiana to go all the way. The Hoosiers open against Chattanooga on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.

"I'm still considering my options," Schwarber said Monday. "I would love for Indiana to win it. That'd be great. I only watched Indiana basketball. I didn't watch any other teams. I'm counting on [the Hoosiers]."

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Worth noting

• Outfielder Shane Victorino, bothered by a sore right calf, could be back in the Cubs' lineup Tuesday. Manager Joe Maddon said Victorino "was not awful; we're just not pushing it now."

The same is true for infielder Tommy La Stella, who played in four Cactus League games before he was shut down with a sore calf.

"I thought he was playing great before he got hurt," Maddon said.

• Maddon and Hall of Famer Billy Williams have had some great conversations regarding baseball, and the Cubs' manager said, at times, he wonders if the two grew up together because they're so alike.

"When we talk about hitting, there's so much commonality in philosophy," Maddon said.

Williams told Maddon about his former hitting coach, Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, and how he would have players hit 10 line drives against the back wall, and if they didn't hit 10 in a row, they'd have to start all over. Maddon hasn't decided whether to implement that drill in the Cubs' program.

• On Sunday, Hector Rondon gave up three runs on three hits and one walk in one inning, and the closer blew a 3-0 lead against the Athletics in the ninth.

"When he walked the hitter, I knew something was not quite right," Maddon said of the right-hander. "I thought, eventually, when he struck out the last hitter, it was probably his best breaking ball of the outing. For the most part, he was off a little bit. I'm totally not concerned."

Rondon now has given up four runs on six hits over his last two outings.

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.