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Spring Training Notebook: Why Andrelton Simmons felt Cubs were the right fit

2 years agoAndy Martinez

MESA, Ariz. — Just moments after officially joining the Cubs, Andrelton Simmons had quite the welcome. 

He was hit by a pitch in one of his first at-bats during a live batting practice session on Tuesday.

“Man, a little warm welcome,” he said with a smile. 

The quick jump into activities showed Simmons’ eagerness to join his new team. In a shortened Spring Training, the preparation process — along with just the simple routine of learning your new teammates — is expedited. 

“It [is] kinda a little different spring training, but gotta do our best to hurry up and get ready,” Simmons said. 

He does have some familiarity with the Cubs, though. During Simmons’ first year in the big leagues with Atlanta, he was lockermates with Jason Heyward and David Ross. Wednesday at Sloan Park during workouts, he was chatting with Heyward throughout much of the day. 

As a rookie, Ross had some fun with Simmons. 

“He used to make me carry this poker chip thing that nobody ever used,” Simmons said. “I had to do it. It was fine, it was cool. He picked on me a little bit, but it’s all good. It humbled me a little bit.” 

Now as a 10-year veteran, he’s with the Cubs to provide experience and impart wisdom on some of the Cubs’ younger players. 

“Anything they want, I’m gonna try and share a little bit of my experience, share my knowledge and help the young kids if I can,” Simmons said. “I’m also all ears. I’m always ready to keep learning and keep going.”

That’s part of what made the Cubs so appealing. 

“I remember the Cubs came in last year against Minnesota and I heard they weren’t playing good and I saw some of the guys and I’m like, ‘Who are these guys? They’re so good. How are they not winning?’” Simmons said. 

Outfield flexibility

Wednesday at Sloan Park, Heyward was fielding fly balls and doing drills at center field. With the reported signing of Seiya Suzuki, a right fielder, Ross is keeping his options open across the outfield.

“I’ve already told the outfielders from Day 1 in camp, I think flexibility is important, you know how that is to me,” Ross said. “We’ll have all those discussions when all those things become official and hopefully that’s a good problem to have.”

For Heyward, that means doing whatever will help the Cubs win ball games. 

“If we’re talking specifically about Jason Heyward, that guy wants to win and will do anything possible for the team,” Ross said. “I’ve never been around somebody more pro than he is.”

Other Notes

  • Alec Mills threw a live bullpen session at Sloan Park Wednesday. Ross mentioned on Tuesday that he would be a part of the Cubs rotation to open the year. 
  • A trio of Cubs Hall of Famers were present at Cubs camp Wednesday. Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams and Andre Dawson were all seen around the Cubs complex in Mesa.

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