Edwards likes pressure roles in Cubs' bullpen

Edwards likes pressure roles in Cubs' bullpen

MILWAUKEE -- Whether it's the seventh game of the World Series or Spring Training or an early April game against the Cardinals, Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. has learned that he needs to treat each outing the same and just breathe.

"It really doesn't make a difference," Edwards said. "I feel from last year to this year, I've been put in the fire. I like that role -- there's a lot of pressure, a lot of adrenaline."

Somehow, he's learned to take a breath and it helps his composure. Does Edwards breathe the same in the sixth inning as in the eighth with the game on the line?

"Yes -- it doesn't matter," the right-hander said.

"He has come a long way and part of that is the way we've used him," manager Joe Maddon said. "By not over-using him, he was well and healthy in the last part of the season and the seventh game of the World Series, he was impactful. He's still physically not a specimen -- he's very good at what he does. When it comes to counting on him, we all feel good about having him out there."

Edwards gets Cubs out of trouble

Maddon's comment on Edwards' physique isn't a knock. All you need to do is look at the pitcher's slender frame, and you have to wonder where the velocity comes from.

The Cubs know they can count on Edwards.

"He's the kind of guy you want in a big moment," Maddon said. "He's proven he can come into a bad moment, a dirty moment, an inning in progress, and still hold his own and work his way through it. ... I'll put him in any situation."

Worth noting
• It's early, but Kyle Schwarber seems a perfect fit as the Cubs' leadoff man. Entering Friday, he was 3-for-10 with a home run and three walks through the first three games.

Statcast: Schwarber's 112-mph HR

"Why would you pitch him anywhere else?" Maddon said. "He's already been walked with the MVP [Kris Bryant] hitting behind him. That validates hitting him [first]. If you put him behind [Anthony Rizzo], he's not going to get pitched to one bit. Let's keep [Schwarber] out there as long as we can."

• If fans want a peek at Wrigley Field before Monday's home opener, they can look at a virtual tour in videos posted on the 1060 Project website featuring vice president of Wrigley Field restoration and expansion Carl Rice. The videos offer a peek at the bullpen relocation, field replacement, and the concourse.

• The Cubs' Triple-A affiliate has extended its lease with the city of Des Moines to run through the 2037 season. The Iowa Cubs also extended their player development contract with the parent club through the 2020 season. That partnership started in 1981, and is the third longest active affiliation among Minor League teams not owned by a Major League team.

• Lefty reliever Brian Duensing, on the disabled list because of back spasms, threw a perfect seventh inning on Thursday in a rehab assignment with Iowa. Eddie Butler struck out six and gave up six hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the 1-0 win over Oklahoma City. The I-Cubs won when Victor Caratini scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.

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.