Mike Maddux, who gave up shot with Cubs, still on track to manage
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org March 17, 2013 11:56PM
83rd MLB All-Star Game
LAS VEGAS — A year later, after an offseason when the phone didn’t ring, Mike Maddux says he has no regrets about taking himself out of the running for the Cubs’ and the Boston Red Sox’ managerial openings.
‘‘I’m happy where I am. I’m happy what I do,’’ said the Texas Rangers pitching coach, who then added, ‘‘I have a timetable.’’
That’s about seeing his two daughters through college back home in Texas, a timeline that could make him a serious managerial candidate in about three years.
Then what? Will the guy who might have been the Cubs’ top candidate look like the one that got away for them at that point?
Or could the Cubs, who plan to be competitive again by then, be the team that got away for Maddux?
The way he handled the Red Sox and Cubs openings — canceling the Red Sox interview and backing out of the Cubs’ process after interviewing — he can’t even be certain his phone will be ringing by then.
‘‘We’ll never know that,” he said. “At the time, I did what was right for my family. If there’s other opportunities, I’ll definitely welcome them.”
For now, Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are raving about the job manager Dale Sveum has done. They blame the team they gave him and the moves they made in July for the 101-loss season last year.
Pitching coach Chris Bosio also gets high marks for the work he did with a roster half-filled at times with guys who didn’t belong in the majors.
What makes Maddux an intriguing what-if figure for the rebuilding Cubs is their clear concern about a lack of high-caliber pitching depth. Maddux has earned one of the best reputations in the game for making the most out of the least when it comes to some of the Rangers staffs he has worked with.
His work as an innovator and his knack for keeping his pitchers healthy were keys to the Rangers’ back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
‘‘He’s the kind of guy that can help a guy to use what he has to the best of his ability,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Maddux, whose success stories included converting C.J. Wilson from a reliever into a $77.5 million starter.
‘‘Change is only a necessity,’’ Washington said. ‘‘Other than that, he helps guys get the best out of what they have to offer.’’
Maddux, whose hiring by the Cubs also would have kept his brother, Greg, with the club, doesn’t play the what-if game on any of it.
Whether he winds up having success five years down the road that the Cubs or Red Sox have reason to envy, ‘‘well, they expect Dale Sveum to have success in the previous five years,’’ Washington said.
One thing Washington seems sure of is that Maddux’s phone will ring again when the timing is right.
‘‘Sometimes you have to roll the dice,’’ Washington said. ‘‘And he’s in a position where there was legitimacy in his decision, and you have to respect that. Opportunity don’t always come around again, but I’ve got to figure in this case it probably will.’’
RANGERS 8, CUBS (ss) 5 ATHLETICS 12, CUBS (ss) 6
ATHLETICS 12, CUBS (ss) 6
TOUGH DEBUT: Right-hander Scott Baker, the Tommy John surgery graduate expected to join the roster in mid-April, ran out of pitches before recording a second out in his first Cactus League game against the Oakland Athletics. He allowed a single, a walk and a homer before getting a fly-ball out, then gave up another single and a walk before he was lifted. ‘‘I was throwing all of my pitches today,’’ he said. ‘‘Did I locate as well as I’d like to? No. But that’s part of the process, too. It’s another step.’’
CASE FOR CASEY?
Right-hander Casey Coleman still hasn’t allowed a run this spring in five outings. He took over for Baker and retired five of the six batters he faced, two on strikeouts. He’s one of five or six candidates for the final two bullpen spots.
DOLIS PULLED: Reliever Rafael Dolis left against the A’s in the sixth with a finger blister after facing six batters. He’s day-to-day.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS: Top prospects Javy Baez and Jorge Soler impressed in their first big-league spring training before being among seven prospects sent to the minor-league side of camp. Baez hit four homers in a span of seven pitches Friday and Saturday, then went 2-for-5 on Sunday, including a run-scoring, two-out double against the A’s. He and Soler — who came off the bench and went 0-for-1 against the A’s — are expected to play Monday before heading to Fitch Park and are expected to open the season at advanced Class A Daytona.
ON DECK: At San Diego Padres, Peoria, 3:05 p.m. (live audio, cubs.com), Edwin Jackson vs. Clayton Richard.