Maddon gives Zobrist his own All-Star break

Veteran getting rest after 24-game stretch, Midsummer Classic festivities

Maddon gives Zobrist his own All-Star break

CHICAGO -- Ben Zobrist finally got his All-Star break.

Zobrist was not in the Cubs' starting lineup on Sunday and got a surprise day off on Monday against the Mets. The All-Star second baseman started last Tuesday's game in San Diego, and thought he'd be OK once the second half resumed. Cubs manager Joe Maddon could tell otherwise.

"I'd rather [give him time off] and be proactive and give him rest," Maddon said Monday. "It's his All-Star break."

Zobrist, 35, said he isn't feeling any aches or pains, just a little road weary. The Cubs played 24 straight games prior to the All-Star break.

"[Maddon] asked me the day we came back, 'How are you feeling?' and I said, 'I don't feel rested,'" Zobrist said. "He said, 'I'm going to give you a day off coming up here soon' and he picked Sunday. I assumed it'd be Sunday and I'd be playing today.

"I think it'll be good to stay off my feet a little bit and try to get caught up. I didn't feel like the break helped me get caught up as much as I wanted to. These couple days and an off-day Thursday, and by then I'll be feeling great."

It helps that Zobrist's sub, Javier Baez, is playing well. Baez has scored or driven in a run in 14 of his last 17 games with an at-bat, and he was batting .346 in his last 15 games entering play Monday. Baez, 23, spent the All-Star break vacationing in Mexico.

"You don't need as much [time off] when you're younger and you have more energy and bounce back quicker," Zobrist said, "but after that 24-game stretch, when we didn't have that much down time, it's taken me longer to bounce back than I realized.

"It's a good mental break to be a fan and really cheer your teammates on instead of being out there every day."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.