Montero fondly recalls Garagiola

Bryant gets start in left; Olmos traded to Orioles

Montero fondly recalls Garagiola

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Miguel Montero was on the D-backs, Joe Garagiola would always stop by to chat with the young catcher.

"The first thing he did every time he walked into the clubhouse was to come and find me, just to talk baseball and things he probably saw that I was doing," Montero said Thursday of Garagiola, who died Wednesday at the age of 90.

"He just talked to me, making jokes," said Montero, now the Cubs' regular catcher. "He was a great guy. I had a good time every time I would sit down and talk to him. He was a great person. He lived a great life."

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As a former catcher himself, Garagiola would offer some pointers.

"We talked about baseball, we talked about the mental part," Montero said. "The one thing he said to me that he always loved about me was that I always had a smile on my face. I reminded him of Yogi Berra and himself because they were pretty happy all the time. It was fun to spend time with him when he was around."

Montero planned on going to the funeral if possible.

"It was sad to get the news [Wednesday]," Montero said. "He lived a great life. He was a great character. It was fun to listen to him when he weas doing TV games. He's in a better place now."

• Manager Joe Maddon met with Cubs executives Thursday to discuss the roster. There are 45 players in camp, and the Cubs are still deciding whether to carry 12 or 13 pitchers. However, the Cubs are expected to leave Arizona with the roster set. The Cubs have two exhibition games in Las Vegas on March 31 and April 1 against the Mets, and one more against the Angels on April 3.

Kris Bryant started in left field Thursday. With Bryant, Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward, one could make the argument that it's the best defensive outfield combo for the Cubs.

"It's really good," Maddon said. "But what do you do to your infield? Does your infield defense become deficient? I think [Bryant] can play shortstop. He really gets his feet down, he catches the ball, he's got a fine arm. [Having him play left] is something we wanted to do at some point. Today is just a look."

• Lack of homers doesn't concern Bryant, Cubs

The Cubs also wanted to give Jeimer Candelario playing time at third base; he started Thursday and hit his first homer of the spring in the fourth inning off Madison Bumgarner.

Candelario's solo home run

• The Cubs traded left-handed reliever Edgar Olmos, 25, to the Orioles for a player to be named. Olmos appeared in four games this spring before he was sent to the Minor League camp, and the lefty gave up three earned runs on four hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings. The Cubs had claimed him off waivers Dec. 23; he was designated for assignment Feb. 12 and outrighted to the Minor League camp Feb. 16.

Gioskar Amaya and Yasiel Balaguert graduated from the Cubs' Minor League English class.

• Cubs prospects Gioskar Amaya and Yasiel Balaguert were honored Thursday for graduating from the Minor League English class. Amaya, 23, is from Venezuela and batted .260 at Class A South Bend last season. Balaguert, 23, is Cuban and hit .271 at South Bend last year. The players wore Cubs blue graduation gowns for the ceremony held on the Minor League fields.

• On Friday, the Cubs wives will hold their annual spring fundraiser to benefit Cubs Charities and Paz de Cristo Community Center in Mesa. For $40, fans can purchase a "mystery ball," which is autographed by one of the players. There also will be bats, helmets, signed jerseys, game-used jerseys, hats, #WeAreGood T-shirts and more. Plus, fans can bid on the car windshield that Kyle Schwarber broke in batting practice this spring. Schwarber did sign the windshield.

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.