Rangers manager Jeff Banister had a long conversation with Cubs manager Joe Maddon before Sunday’s split-squad game at Sloan Park.
Banister was grateful to Maddon for making a point to shake his hand and congratulate him on his first managerial job at the winter meetings in December.
“He actually took the time to shake my hand and congratulate me and tell me how awesome it was,” Banister said. “For me, I appreciated the time. More than anything, the type of guy he is, the man he is.”
Banister likes how Maddon, who is in his first year with Chicago after managing the Rays since 2006, fuses outside-the-box coaching with traditional baseball conventions.
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“Enjoyed him from afar,” Banister said. “He believes in what he does. He’s not afraid of that. He seems to get the most out of every player that he manages. He finds a way to reach each one of them individually.”
Banister said he hopes to fall in the middle between a cutting-edge, looser manager and one who still maintains the traditions of the game. The key, he said, is keeping players relaxed but being able to dial it up when the lights are on.
“I think [Maddon] has a unique way of capturing both,” Banister said.
Let’s wear Ts
Sunday was T-shirt day for Cubs players. Maddon allowed them to wear shorts and T-shirts during batting practice. Players wore shirts with former Cubs great Ernie Banks’ No. 14 on the back and his famous saying — “Let’s Play Two” — on the front. The Hall of Famer passed away in January. His No. 14 is mowed into the center field grass at Sloan Park.
5 Homers the Rangers combined to hit in two split-squad games Sunday. The first of the spring for Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, Joey Gallo, Jared Hoying and Thomas Field.
“I can’t put a timetable on somebody else’s feelings. I encourage them all to go ahead and feel what they need to feel. Also, there’s a time [when it’s] what is important today? Each one of these guys has their own job to do. They need to be where their feet are. They can’t focus on anything other than that. ... Control what you control.” — Banister on his players moving past the shock of Yu Darvish’s injury
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760