Maddon offers 'protectionism' suggestions

Day later, manager still unhappy about slide-rule call that went against Cubs

Maddon offers 'protectionism' suggestions

ST. LOUIS -- After the Cubs were charged with a double play on Saturday because Ian Happ overslid second base, manager Joe Maddon expressed his outrage at Rule 6.01(j), which requires the baserunner to remain on the base. The rule was designed to protect the infielders, but Maddon said it should be eliminated.

On Sunday, Maddon had a few more tongue-in-cheek suggestions regarding "protectionism."

"I think we should consider eliminating the headfirst slide to protect baserunners," Maddon said. "That is a really dangerous slide. A headfirst slide, you hurt your hand, your eye could be poked out.

"You saw [Chris] Ianetta get hit in the mouth the other day. I believe the face mask should be mandatory for all hitters. Pitchers have been hit by line drives several times. I think pitchers should now be forced to wear helmets."

That's not all. When the Cubs were in Colorado, Charlie Blackmon was hit by a foul ball while in the on-deck circle.

"I think there should be a cage in the on-deck circle so guys can stand behind the screen and not get hurt," Maddon said.

"And finally, even when I coached third base in the Minor Leagues, I always wore a cup. I was always concerned. I think there needs to be a cup check to prevent the potential for the loss of future families."

Hopefully Major League Baseball officials can pick up Maddon's sarcastic tone.

Kris Bryant was feeling better, but Maddon kept the third baseman out of the starting lineup on Sunday for a third straight day. Bryant has been batting the stomach flu.

"[It's] 80 degrees, coming off the issues he's had, dehydration being a problem, I did not want to push it," Maddon said.

Neither Ben Zobrist or Jon Jay started on Sunday; both have back issues. Albert Almora Jr. got the nod in center, with Happ starting again in right and Javier Baez at second. Shortstop Addison Russell did return to the lineup after being sidelined with a sore right shoulder.

• Entering Sunday, the Cubs were last in the National League in hitting with runners in scoring position, but they were tied with the Reds for the most plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

"We are hitting young right now," Maddon said. "The lineup is relatively young, or actually very young. I don't know if it's pitchers taking advantage of our youthful aggressiveness.

"That part of the game, the runs in scoring position, need to come from the middle, opposite field more. It can't just be a pull, ground ball to third, ground ball to short, popup, try to do too much. Let's utilize the whole field. We're working on getting that back into their mindsets now. I do believe RBIs tend to be in the middle of the field more than the pull side."

• Maddon did try to call his mother, Beanie, on Sunday, but missed her. He did send several Mother's Day gifts -- 25 different packages, which all contained an owl gift. For instance, he sent her an owl table fan, owl shot glasses, owl wine glasses, owl socks, an owl neon sign, owl everything. And, Maddon got Beanie a Fitbit to chart her steps when she's walking to the Third Base Luncheonette in Hazleton, Pa.

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.