Cubs’ Craig Counsell: Christopher Morel will begin spring training at third base

The question about where in the field to play Morel has been a point of interest throughout his young career. In two seasons in the big leagues, Morel has played every position but first base, pitcher and catcher. And in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, he worked out at first. The Cubs even sent over coaches to oversee his early work.

Cubs' Craig Counsell: Christopher Morel will begin spring training at third  base - Chicago Sun-Times

Last season, Morel served primarily as the Cubs’ designated hitter.

‘‘Christopher’s done so much with the bat that it’s our job to figure out the best way to deploy it,’’ Counsell said Saturday.

Counsell has spoken highly of Morel’s versatility, specifically on defense But now consistency will take precedence — at least at the start of spring training.

‘‘To say he can play a lot of positions, yes,’’ Counsell said. ‘‘We have to play them at a certain level that makes sense for the bat to be in there, right? And it is harder to play multiple positions, no question about it.’’

Morel has made highlight-worthy plays all around the field, showing off his strong arm in the outfield and his range and athleticism in the infield. But he has looked rushed at times, soaring a routine throw to first or taking an inefficient route to a fly ball.

‘‘My idea to start a camp is to focus mainly at third base,’’ Counsell said. ‘‘Let’s see where we’re at; let’s evaluate that as we go. But let’s give him a chance at third base and give him some consistency at third base, see where we’re at roster-wise at some point in camp, then go forward from there.’’

The Cubs also have Nick MadrigalPatrick Wisdom and Miles Mastrobuoni as options at third base.

Edwards’ return

Right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. is back at the Cubs’ spring-training complex for the first time since 2019.

‘‘It’s still the same games, the same baseball,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m still looking forward to winning with these guys. It’s just a lot of new faces.’’

During the offseason, Edwards signed a minor-league deal that included an invitation to spring training. Since spending parts of his first five big-league seasons with the Cubs — and winning a World Series with them in 2016 — he has played for the Padres, Mariners, Braves, Blue Jays and Nationals.

‘‘As long as I take care of my business and do what I’ve got to do and prove my durability, then I think I have a good chance to make the team,’’ he said.

Live batting practice begins

Veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks went down the line of hitters sitting in foul territory after his live batting-practice session, thanking them for facing him and getting feedback on what they were seeing. He threw about 25 pitches.

The first live batting-practice sessions of spring training got underway Saturday, with Hendricks and right-hander Javier Assad on one field and left-handers Thomas Pannone and Bailey Horn and right-hander Porter Hodge scheduled to throw on another.

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