Cubs' David Bote Flashing His Defensive Prowess

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(670 The Score) A season after the Cubs signed infielder David Bote to a five-year contract extension, he's flashing the versatility that appealed so much to the organization. He's also flashing the leather.

Bote has been a defensive wizard early on this truncated season while playing mostly third base and also logging some time at second base. He had a few web gems earlier in the week at third base, then turned a sensational double play at second base by dragging his foot across the bag after the ball deflected off right-hander Yu Darvish on the mound Wednesday evening. That helped Darvish limit the damage amid his biggest jam in his strong performance in the Cubs' 6-1 win.

"We needed to keep them off the bases," Bote said Thursday. "Last night, Darvish was struggling a bit early, so being able to turn a couple of double plays kind of catapulted him into settling down and dominating the rest of the game."

Bote credited the Cubs' pitching staff for its work and pointed out infielders have to stay ready at all times.

"The one thing we know is that our pitching staff is mainly 'groundball city,'" Bote said. "They just love to induce early contact. So we have been ready for groundballs early in games. As an infielder, the more chances you have, the more ready you are and on your feet anticipating the next play. The starting pitching has done a phenomenal job of doing that. That confidence carries on into the rest of the game."

Bote has been a solid defensive player in his professional career, but he had some puzzling gaffes in the field in 2019. So improving in that area was a focus for him.

"I really think it was a case of overwork," Bote said. "I think I took too many groundballs at too many positions too often. After that occurs, you begin not to trust yourself as much. This year I am getting the early work in and being smarter with (my preparation) both at third and second, just trusting myself with enough work and not overdoing it. The same thing happens to guys when they swing the bat too much. If you feel good with your preparation, get out and don't overdo it. It's all feel and trust in your self."

Bote is 5-of-22 (.227) at the plate and has been producing some good at-bats, with two homers, five RBIs, a .346 on-base percentage and .892 OPS in eight games. He has found a comfort level after discussing his role with manager David Ross back in March.

"He said, 'What do you need from me?'" Bote said. "I told him, 'What I would like was the communication of how you want to use me.' At that point, he said, 'I don't know what is going to happen or how it's going to shake out.' But he gave me an idea, so I don't have to worry about am I a starter one week and backup the next? Those thoughts can distract you. He said things could change at a moment's notice. Really the open communication from skip has made it simpler to prepare for situations with fewer ambush situations of not anticipating roles."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.