Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon watches his team practice before a Major League Baseball season-opening game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Chicago, Sunday, April 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh
April 05, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) Matt Szczur's flashy spring training caught the attention of manager Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs.

Szczur and infielder Jonathan Herrera made the opening day roster when the Cubs designated outfielder Ryan Sweeney for assignment and placed four players on the disabled list before Sunday night's 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Szczur was selected by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and made his major league debut in August. The 25-year-old outfielder hit .354 with five homers and nine RBIs in spring training.

While most of the talk in Arizona centered on top prospect Kris Bryant, who will begin the year at Triple-A Iowa, Maddon said he also was impressed by Szczur.

''You got guys like Szczur that has had a wonderful camp and if he was not protected by KB, he'd have been really out there being talked about a whole lot more often than he was, as an example,'' Maddon said. ''He had a great camp.''

Herrera, 30, agreed to a minor league contract with Chicago in December, and then hit .300 in 22 spring games. He is a .263 career hitter in 417 major league games with Colorado and Boston.

Outfielder Chris Denorfia and pitchers Dallas Beeler, Jacob Turner and Tsuyoshi Wada will begin the year on the DL. Beeler and Turner are out with right shoulder inflammation. Wada has a mild left groin strain, and Denorfia has been slowed by a mild left hamstring strain.

Chicago opted for 12 pitchers and 13 position players for opening day, including three catchers.


Jay Cohen can be reached at

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