Zobrist explains his approach to leading off

Cubs call up Rosscup, replacing Floro in bullpen

Zobrist explains his approach to leading off

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Ben Zobrist sees only two main differences with hitting atop the batting order than anywhere else. The first is a dilemma. The second is in the execution.

Zobrist said moving to the leadoff spot can be harder for some players because it can be difficult facing a pitcher before seeing any pitches to get the timing down. There's also a mental aspect that comes into play -- a dilemma every hitter faces when leading off.

"That first at-bat, you kind of feel like, 'Well, maybe I should be patient,'" Zobrist said. "But then again you don't want to let a ball right down the middle go by.

"Leading off is not easy."

He certainly made it look that way on Sunday.

In the Cubs' 13-6 victory over the Brewers, which marked his fourth appearance in the leadoff spot this season, Zobrist wasted little time putting the Cubs on the board. He turned on a 2-0 pitch from Brewers righty Chase Anderson, smashing it over the wall in right-center.

The home run left with an exit velocity of 104.8 mph and traveled 425 feet, making it Zobrist's longest of the Statcast™ era. It was his fourth blast of the season and 22nd since joining the Cubs in 2016.

"That homer he hit the other day," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, "I never even thought back in the day [with Tampa Bay] that was going to be a part of his game."

Zobrist followed up that performance with another solid outing on Monday. Hitting out of the leadoff spot, he went 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run in the Cubs' 6-4 loss to the Giants, extending his on-base streak to 20 games.

Zobrist's two-run homer

Zobrist, in his 11th season with Maddon as his manager, has embraced the versatility of being a super-utility player, a role Maddon strongly endorses. And Zobrist has never complained about where he's hitting or playing.

"All he wants to do is win," Maddon said. "That's who he is."

• Zobrist became the latest Cub to get his own cereal, showing off the boxes of "Zorilla Crunch" on Monday. The cover of the box shows Zobrist with a bat slung over his shoulder, with the words "2016 Championship Edition."

"That's kind of a dream as a kid, to get your face on a cereal box," Zobrist said. "And they did a great job. I look way better on that than in real life."

Zobrist joins Anthony Rizzo and David Ross as members of the 2016 World Series team with their own cereals. Who's is best?

"Mine is. Definitely," Zobrist joked. "It's got marshmallows in it. … It's healthier too."

• The Cubs added a fresh arm on Monday, selecting the contract of lefty Zac Rosscup from Triple-A Iowa and optioning right-hander Dylan Floro. To make room on the Cubs' 40-man roster, right-hander Jake Buchanan was designated for assignment.

Rosscup, 28, has made 61 big league relief appearances over three seasons with the Cubs from 2013-15 before missing the 2016 campaign following left shoulder surgery.

At Iowa this year, Rosscup was 2-1 with one save and a 3.45 ERA in nine outings, striking out 25 over 15 2/3 innings. He has thrown more than one inning in eight of his nine outings.

"Everything's good, and I feel great," Rosscup said. "It's better than spring. In spring, you throw your outing and you're a little sore. It's been continuing to get better. I'm excited to be here."

Floro, 26, made his second relief outing with the Cubs on Sunday, pitching two innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits.

Buchanan, 27, was 2-2 with a 4.75 ERA in eight starts with Iowa this season.

• Left-hander Brett Anderson, on the disabled list since May 7 with a low back strain, was to throw his first bullpen session on Tuesday.

"It shouldn't be too long," Maddon said of Anderson's rehab time. "I don't have a finish line, but I think he's in pretty good shape."

Albert Almora Jr. started in center field Monday against Giants lefty Ty Blach, which gave rookie Ian Happ his first breather since he was promoted from Iowa on May 13. Maddon liked the idea of having a switch-hitter off the bench against the Giants, but there was another reason to let the rookie sit.

"I think it's wise for Ian to sit there and watch," Maddon said. "He hasn't had a chance to do that. Know you're one of the best players in the world right now, and have him off the bench."

Happ's pinch-hit triple

Maddon called on Happ to pinch-hit in the eighth inning Monday. Happ tripled on a line drive and scored on Zobrist's home run. However, Happ was unable to help finish off the comeback, as he struck out swinging to end the game.

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.

Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.