No Cubs drama on deck for Maddon or Montero

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon insists there is no problem between him and veteran catcher Miguel Montero.In an interview after the Cubs won the World Series last fall, Montero expressed unhappiness over how he was used in the postseason,...

No Cubs drama on deck for Maddon or Montero

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon insists there is no problem between him and veteran catcher Miguel Montero.

In an interview after the Cubs won the World Series last fall, Montero expressed unhappiness over how he was used in the postseason, with rookie Willson Contreras and David Ross getting increased playing time at his expense.

"I have nothing to clear the air about, personally," Maddon said Wednesday after Cubs pitchers and catchers held their first formal workout of spring training. "I know that he was not happy with the role that he had had in the playoffs. We had discussed everything prior to that. I am always open to discussion.

"But I honestly don't believe that he is all that upset about anything either. It's one of those things that sometimes gets over made, overblown. I understand that it reads well. But at the end of the day, man, I have a lot of respect for him. He's a big part of what we're going to do again this year. And he was so large in our success at the end of last season. Listen, man, we do not win the ring without him."

Montero, who is signed through the end of this season, came to the Cubs in December 2014 in a trade with Arizona. On Wednesday, he termed his role as "backup last year and the year before, too."

"Obviously, it was hard," he said. "When you get traded over here, you're supposed to be the everyday catcher. And then you come here and you're platooning and then it wasn't even a fair platoon because (Jon) Lester was pitching, and he has his personal catcher (Ross). There were times where I didn't catch for four days. It's hard to keep a momentum going as a hitter. You go one day and get 3 hits, and then you're benched for the next four? How are you supposed to keep a streak going? It's tough.

"But it's what it is. I got over with it last year, the year before. It's a new year, a new adventure, I guess. We'll see what happens."

Kris Bryant, the reigning MVP in the National League, took part in field drills Wednesday, even though position players don't report until Friday.

Bryant, who won the Rookie of the Year in 2015, said he's looking to improve again after putting up a line of .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers and 102 RBI last year.

"Absolutely, in every category," he said. "That's just how I've always been. In college, I've always tried to do better the next year in all areas of the game. I haven't really made my individual goals yet, but I'm sure they're to be pretty crazy like I always do, which I love. I love striving to be the best I can be. There's no sense in not doing that."

Pitcher Jake Arrieta is sporting -- well, not exactly sporting -- a new tattoo. This off-season, Arrieta paid up on a bet with infielder Tommy La Stella, whose Coastal Carolina University team knocked Arrieta's Texas Christian University team out of the College World Series last year.

So, Arrieta had the CCU logo tattooed … on his backside.

"It's fairly small," he said. "I wanted to do the Chanticleer, the rooster (CCU's mascot). The guy was telling me it had to be that big. I said that's a little too big."

Arrieta said he picked the spot for the tattoo.

"It was up to me," he said. "I felt like that was a good spot for it. Lot of meat down there."

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