Even though the Cubs lost their home opener 8-5 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, a good time was had by the Loyola University men’s basketball team.
The Cubs honored the Ramblers for making to the NCAA Final Four.
Coach Porter Moser and players threw out a ceremonial first pitch and then sang during the seventh-inning stretch. Team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who gained fame at 98 with her charm and enthusiasm, also tossed out a first pitch from her wheelchair.
“It was an awesome day,” said guard Clayton Custer as he signed baseballs in the media lunchroom.
“We were definitely excited, and you could feel it in the crowd,” said Ben Richardson, who made key shots on the way to the Final Four. “It’s special to interact with Chicagoans and hear how the run made them feel and how proud they were. That means the world to us.”
The players said they were touched by the Cubs wearing Loyola T-shirts at batting practice during their season-opening series at Miami.
Manager Joe Maddon talked in Miami of wanting to take Sister Jean out for ice cream in his station wagon. Maddon spent time with Sister Jean on the field before the game.
“It was really fun to have that conversation with her,” Maddon said. “I’ve been looking forward to that. I was hoping to have that conversation.”
It’s official: Rizzo to DL:
Anthony Rizzo had one piece of advice for teammate Ben Zobrist when it comes to playing first base.
“Yeah, catch the ball,” Rizzo said Tuesday. “That’s what I tell everyone. That’s your job over there. Just catch it. That’s what I tell every kid whoever asked me what he should do at first. Just catch the ball.”
The Cubs made it official Tuesday, placing Rizzo on the 10-day disabled list with lower-back tightness and selecting the contract of Efren Navarro from Class AAA Iowa.
The move on Rizzo was retroactive to April 6, and he will be eligible to return next Monday, when the Cubs open a home series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It stinks, especially not going to play the home opener,” he said. “But it’s a long season. You’ve got to stay smart and that’s what we’re doing. It’s a matter of getting it right for the long haul.”
Zobrist was in the lineup for Monday’s snowed-out home opener. He was back again Tuesday.
“I have to be on my toes over there,” he said. “Make sure I’m in the right spot. Do the best I can to be instinctual. You’re going in the opposite direction of the ball on the infield a lot of times. It’s just different. The instincts are different over there than they are in other places.”
A middle infielder by trade, Zobrist had played in 23 games at first entering this season.
The new guy:
Efren Navarro, who turns 32 May 14, went to sprig training as a nonroster man with the Cubs. He has 153 games of big-league experience with the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers. Last year with the Tigers, Navarro played in 23 games. He has a lifetime line of .243/.306/.334 with 3 homers and 22 RBI.
He singled in Tuesday’s fifth inning as a pitch hitter.
“Efren Navarro is really good at first base,” said Joe Maddon. “He’s really good, he’s not just OK. He’s a really good thrower, too. As first basemen go, he really throws well. I’m a big proponent of that.”