Charlie Manuel responds, disagrees with Jonathan Papelbon

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After Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save of the season (his second in three days, actually), he criticized his team’s lack of fundamentals when speaking to the media. In particular, Papelbon said first baseman Ryan Howard was not positioned properly when Denard Span reached on an infield single to the right side.

Here’s what was said, via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

“I was thinking on a 3-1 count our infield would be back and I was expecting to turn around and run to first base and catch a underhand throw,” Papelbon said.

So he was surprised Howard was even with the bag?

“Yeah,” he said.

Salisbury followed up with Manuel, who disagreed with Papelbon, saying, “Howard was in the right spot.”

“Although the count is 3-1, Span can bunt,” Manuel said. “Howard was up in the right spot. But it’s just like everything — everyone wants to voice their opinion. Howard was in the right place.”

Manuel said he would speak to Papelbon.

“I will,” he said. “I’m not afraid to.”

Manuel didn’t have a problem with Papelbon’s overall observations about fundamentals.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.