Cubs expect Zo to return for Padres opener

Cubs expect Zo to return for Padres opener

LOS ANGELES -- Ben Zobrist did not start for the second day on Sunday to give his left wrist more time to heal, but he and manager Joe Maddon expects the veteran back in the Cubs' lineup on Monday in San Diego.

Zobrist injured his wrist during a swing on Friday in the first game of the Cubs' series against the Dodgers.

"It tightened up and got more sore," Zobrist said Sunday. "I think I'll be good to go [Monday]."

"I thought it was not wise to push him today," Maddon said. "If you don't mess with him today, you should have him for a while."

Your move, Happ

How does Maddon gauge how a young player is progressing?

"[By] how he reacts to bad moments," Maddon said. "If the guy starts kind of losing his mind a little bit, then you back off of him. If he's able to handle the adversity, then you stay with it."

For example, Ian Happ batted .333 during his first six games in the big leagues, hitting two home runs, two doubles and striking out six times. In his last seven games, Happ hit .217 with two doubles, one triple and one RBIs and 11 K's.

"I have no preconceived notions on how long to stick with somebody or not," Maddon said. "Everybody looks good when they're going good. How do you look when you're going badly? That's what sets a guy apart."

Maddon said teams most likely didn't have much of a scouting report on Happ when he was promoted from Triple-A Iowa. Now, they've got a better read on the rookie.

"Now it's up to him to adjust," Maddon said. "That's what I've been seeing this whole series. [The Dodgers] have pitched well against us. ... They're not giving us our pitches and we're not adjusting to it."

Maddon expects Schwarber to rebound

Maddon also said he's talked to Kyle Schwarber, who was batting .178. He doesn't want Schwarber to pay attention to any outside noise or overreaction.

"The best I can do is talk to the player himself, which I've done with 'Schwarbs,'" Maddon said. "That's just the nature of the industry. That's part of it.

"I thought his at-bats [Saturday] were better. You ask the player to not pay attention. With all the tablets and whatever the different sources are available to follow what's going on, it's almost inevitable they'll hear or read something. You've got to stay positive with them."

When Maddon was a hitting instructor with the Angels, he would cross off players' batting averages to focus on walks, strikeouts, runs scored, RBIs and on-base percentage.

"Right now, the best explanation I can offer is we're hitting young," he said of the Cubs' offensive struggles. "If you look at the end of last season and how well they performed under those circumstances, I believe we'll get back to that.

"These guys will get it together. That moment is coming. These guys are good."

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.