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Cubs keep it light, loose with pajama party trip home

Chicago Tribune

They strolled into the Cubs clubhouse together: Hector Rondon in a Superman onesie, Starlin Castro in Super Mario Bros.-themed pajamas and Pedro Strop in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleepwear.

Tommy La Stella already owned a pair of onesies.

“I have one with Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) and the other one is, like, hot-chocolate cups,” he said.

It was part of the “pajama party” for the Sunday trip home planned by manager Joe Maddon, who likes to indulge in such team-bonding activities.

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“He’s awesome,” La Stella said. “He does a great job of keeping it light and keeping it loose. And he knows guys are going to go out and perform their best when they’re relaxed and comfortable. He does a great job of setting that atmosphere in the clubhouse.”

The Cubs needed some levity with a four-game losing streak going into Sunday. But would another loss dampen the fun?

“It works both ways,” Maddon said. “If you’ve won, it always makes it even better and if you’ve lost, it’s kind of like, ‘Let’s put this behind us and let’s move on.’ ... It doesn’t matter. It’s about keeping the group together.”

Pajamas are optional, but Maddon of course participated. His choice?

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“I got a nice one,” he said. “‘I Feel the Need For Sleep’ is the theme.”

Mixed signs: Miguel Montero caught Jon Lester for the fourth time this season Saturday and said their communication was off in relaying signs from the bench.

“I don’t know what kind of signs they have when Lester pitches,” Montero said. “I felt like I was a little bit lost.”

David Ross usually catches Lester, who was cruising until he allowed four straight hits to start the seventh in a 5-2 loss.

Maddon said it’s not a big issue.

“We’re trying to mouth or say things from the dugout,” he said. “That doesn’t work. (I called) timeout (to say), ‘Let’s talk about it.’ ”

Makeup date: The Cubs will play a doubleheader at Pittsburgh on Sept.15 to make up a game rained out Aug. 3.


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