Contreras gaining chemistry with pitchers

Rookie catches Hendricks' shutout in Monday's win over Marlins

Contreras gaining chemistry with pitchers

CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks was pretty pumped about throwing a shutout. So was his catcher, Cubs rookie Willson Contreras, whose development at the big league level is accelerating at a rapid-fire pace.

On Monday night, Contreras was behind the plate for Hendricks' shutout, and on Tuesday, Contreras helped Jason Hammel get through six innings in a 3-2 win over the Marlins even though the right-hander called himself a "one-pitch pitcher" because of a lack of command of his offspeed stuff.

"I want to learn every day," Contreras said. "I want to improve every day. I have confidence in myself that I know what I can do."

Hammel wasn't happy to be pulled after six innings in what manager Joe Maddon called a "National League moment" -- he wanted a pinch-hitter with two on -- and Contreras went over to the pitcher and gave him a hug in the dugout.

"I saw he was [mad] and I told him, 'I know you want to go back, but you did a very good job. I hope we have the opportunity to get together again,'" Contreras said.

"He's a great kid -- I love him," Hammel said. "He basically has gotten better every start I've worked with him. The game calling, the blocking -- he's even coming up to me and giving me hugs. He saw that I was frustrated coming out early and he's like, 'Hey, nice job.' He's got kind words, wise words beyond his young years. I was very proud of him."

Contreras' RBI single

So are the rest of the Cubs. Contreras was promoted to the big leagues on June 17, and the plan was to have him learn at the big league level from veteran catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross.

"He's shown that [maturity] from the first day up here," Maddon said. "Even if he has a bad day, he's going to show up, shaking everybody's hand. He's effervescent. He has a pure joy for playing the game.

"He just continues to morph into what we think he's going to be," Maddon said. "He's going to be a very good catcher, really good offensive player and a leader. He's going to show up and be this little bolt of energy on a daily basis."

Maddon on 3-2 win over Marlins

Worth noting

Aroldis Chapman's first two save opportunities with the Cubs were four-out save situations, and the lefty said he didn't like that. On Tuesday, Chapman was called upon to pitch the ninth, and retired the side in order. From now on, Maddon said he will try to stick to using the hard-throwing left-hander only in three-out save situations.

"If we can keep him to three outs, I think that will maximize his utility with us," Maddon said.

Chapman notches the save

Kris Bryant did not start Tuesday against the Marlins, and Maddon said he should've sat the third baseman sooner.

"I probably should've done it [Monday] except it was a left-handed pitcher [starting]," Maddon said. "It did not matter who was pitching today, as long as he was right-handed, I wanted to give [Bryant] the day off."

Bryant, who was 0-for-9 in his last two games, was tied for second in the National League in home runs (26) and is tied for ninth in RBIs (68).

• Thomas Hatch, the Cubs' third-round pick in the June Draft, was working out at the team's facility in Mesa, Ariz., in preparation for instructional league. He will not pitch for any of the Cubs' Minor League affiliates this summer because of the long season he had with Oklahoma State, which reached the College World Series.

• Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was honored Tuesday night as the winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, presented by the MLB Players Alumni Association.

This is the third time Rizzo has won the award, and last year, he was named the overall winner. On Tuesday, Rizzo stopped by the oncology floor at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago to visit patients and their families.

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.