Cubs start meetings to plan postseason roster

Strop returns from DL; front office considers whether to keep 3 catchers

Cubs start meetings to plan postseason roster

CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon and the front office began preliminary meetings regarding the postseason roster, and the Cubs have created different scenarios depending on who they may play in the National League Division Series, which starts Oct. 7.

"We have plenty of time to make these decisions," general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday. "We'll keep revisiting the stuff over the course of the weekend, over the course of next week. We did it early enough that we could have those thoughts. Part of it, too, is talking about different ways we want to use guys in the last 10 games."

That means talking about who needs more at-bats, who may need more innings or who may need less.

"It's a fine balance between being rested and being sharp, and we're trying to thread that needle," Hoyer said. "There's no guide book for it."

Hoyer knows the NL Wild Card Game winner cannot be taken lightly. The Cubs beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh last year in the NL Wild Card Game.

"We're going to play a good team in the [NLDS]. We're going to play a team that gets off the plane feeling awesome about [the Wild Card win]," Hoyer said. "We were that team last year. You feel like world beaters after winning that game on the road. We'll play a good team that feels good about themselves, and that's why the focus should be on us and playing good baseball."

Miguel Montero was matched up with Jake Arrieta in Friday's 5-0 victory over the Cardinals, and one of the options the Cubs are considering is whether to carry three catchers in the NLDS.

"Miggy's been playing really well," Maddon said. "I don't want to discount anything. Nothing has been concluded. I want to keep throwing him out there. Miggy is playing at a high level and he's done well with Jake in the past, so I wanted to see them together."

Pedro Strop was activated from the disabled list before Friday's game, and the Cubs hope the right-handed reliever gets three to four appearances before the postseason begins. Strop had been on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Ben Zobrist's uniform was all dirty after doing some early fundamental work at second base on Friday. He plans on taking advantage of the home games this weekend.

"It's not surprising [Zobrist] would do that," Maddon said. "He had a couple plays the last couple games that he missed. He knows that. He's so diligent regarding his work, and he'll be the first to tell you he's not the most gifted, but he's probably one of the most prepared.

"Does anybody care more than him? No. Does anybody get it better than him? No. It's all about winning for him now. It's not about his personal agenda. He knows that his best ability benefits us, and that's why he's doing it."

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.