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MESA , Ariz. (AP) — In the aftermath of Chicago’s collapse last season, Cubs manager Joe Maddon went looking for a deeper understanding of the players who dominate the major leagues these days.Maddon’s search took him to “Managing Millennials for Dummies,” and the book reinforced what he already felt about the people he worked with every day.“The big takeaway is that they’re no different than anybody else,” a chuckling Maddon said. “When you break it down and you go back to your own childhood we all had inefficiencies as young people. The biggest takeaway I think are two things; that the propensity to be inclined to utilize technology, which is wonderful because I’ve done that anyway, and then, they as a group like wanting to know why.”Millennials make up the vast majority of the majors today, and their influence is felt all over the sport.They were the earliest adopters of the advanced statistics that have become commonplace throughout baseball, and they inform much of what they do on the mound or at the plate. They want to know the reasoning behind what their coaches want them to do.“I’ve learned this generation is nothing like the generation I grew up in,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Nothing like it. You have to learn and have an open mind to find out what makes these kids tick, how they grew up. They’re so diverse and their way of communicating is different in Southern California, kids in the South, kids in the East. It’s just taking the time to get to know them and how to communicate.”The millennial generation became a hot topic in Chicago when the Cubs fired hitting coach Chili Davis after they struggled to score in the final few days of last season, culminating in their 2-1, 13-inning loss to Colorado in the NL Wild Card Game.Davis told the Chicago Sun-Times that he needed to make some adjustments to how he delivers his message to millennials, and he planned to know more about his potential players before he accepted another job. He was hired as hitting coach for the New York Mets in December.“You learn from every place you go,” Davis said during spring training. “You know, there’s a lot of different personalities to try to connect with. And sometimes you connect with most of them, you hope you connect with all of ’em — that’s a rarity. But you know, I had great kids in Boston Dallas Keuchel Jersey , I thought I had some really good kids over in Chicago last year and I’m really enjoying the guys I’m around this year.”Defining a generation “is an art and a science,” said Kate Turkcan, who is the head of youth insights for Kantar Consulting. Turkcan said millennials were born between 1979 and 1996, and centennials — the next major generation for baseball — began in 1997 and ended between four and eight years ago.Turkcan, who has worked with universities and companies like Samsung, Coca-Cola and Target, said the millennial stereotype of entitled young person is misguided.“They’re not asking why to be difficult. They’re asking why because they’ve grown up in a generation or in a world where you need proof for everything, you need back up,” she said.“They’re taught critical thinking skills … they’ve been taught you don’t take anything at face value and I think even coming from someone who’s experienced, like a coach or like a manager, it’s not that they’re doubting, but it is that they’ve always been taught like you don’t just take anything. You ask why. … You want to get really to the root of the issue.”Maddon, who turned 65 on Feb. 8, is the oldest manager in baseball, followed by the 64-year-old Yost and San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy, 63. Maddon is nearly 30 years older than Rocco Baldelli, who became the game’s youngest manager when he was hired by Minnesota in October.Despite his age, Maddon has been known for his ability to relate to his players. The Cubs declined to offer him an extension after the tough finish last year, so Maddon’s ability to get the most of the younger millennials on his roster could help determine his future.That’s just fine with Maddon, who thinks his style works nicely for baseball’s most important generation at the moment.“Quite frankly , when I started doing this in the mid-80s, I thought it was important to tell my players why,” Maddon said. “You want to know why, I don’t feel offended. I think sometimes it’s, when people ask you why there’s a defensive component to that that some people don’t like. I don’t mind it. So when they ask me that, why, I should be prepared to tell them why.” MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Like every other pitcher in the Oakland Athletics’ deep bullpen, Liam Hendriks is expecting to pitch a lot this season.The tricky question for manager Bob Melvin going into spring training: Who gets to go first?The Athletics rotation is a major uncertainty heading into camp, with the first workout for pitchers and catchers set for Monday. Of course, that’s nothing new for Melvin. Oakland’s rotation was wrecked by injuries last season, prompting the A’s to lean on their relief pitchers as “openers” to start games. With at least three spots in the rotation currently wide open, Oakland might again be forced to get creative with the early innings.Hendriks became the most dependable in that role last season, making nine of the 10 “opener” starts for Oakland in September and October, including in the AL wild-card game against the Yankees.The makeshift bullpen games helped the A’s earn a surprising postseason appearance, and Hendriks is eager to return to the role. He’s ready to pitch every other day if asked — “I’d love to be able to get to 81 games pitched, just to be able to say I did it,” he said.Melvin smiled at that suggestion, but he hopes Oakland’s staff won’t have to be quite so untraditional.“We’re open to just about anything,” Melvin said. “But I don’t know if we’re fixated on going into spring right away saying Lance McCullers Jersey , ‘We’re going to start with an opener on this game.’ I haven’t scheduled it out that way.”The Athletics are getting an early start on spring training because they’re heading to Japan for a season-opening series on March 20-21. The teams will be allowed expanded 28-man rosters for those games, and Melvin expects to use the extra roster space to more carefully manage his pitchers.“That will allow us to do things at our pace,” Melvin said. “It’s more about the pitching than anything else and making sure they’re ready. With some extra guys, it means we don’t have to push guys to try to get somebody ready to throw 100 pitches in this game (in Tokyo). I don’t know if that’s realistic.”Besides Mike Fiers and newcomer Marco Estrada, nothing is set in the rotation. Estrada battled hip and back problems last season while with the Blue Jays, yet still made 28 starts, posting a 7-14 record and 5.64 ERA.“I have to be a little smarter about things like that. If I’m in that much pain, I should probably take it easy,” Estrada said. “I like making all my starts. My goal is to try to make at least 30 starts. That’s something I want to do for these guys, I want to give them innings.”Last season, Oakland starters combined for 824 1/3 innings, the fewest in team history. Every member of the season-opening starting rotation dealt with injuries.Daniel Mengden is the most likely pitcher to join Fiers and Estrada in the rotation. He appeared in 22 games (17 starts) last season and was often used as the long man following the “openers.” Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt are also strong possibilities, while injured starters Jharel Cotton, Sean Manaea and Andrew Triggs may return at some point in 2019.NOTES: The A’s still don’t know when or if top draft pick Kyler Murray will report to camp. The two-sport star has a locker and a No. 73 jersey waiting for him in Oakland’s clubhouse at Hohokam Park, but general manager David Forst said Sunday they were still talking to the Murray family as the Heisman Trophy winner tries to decide which sport to pursue.Third baseman Matt Chapman, who had thumb surgery in October and a distal clavicle resection procedure in December on his non-throwing shoulder, is not expected to be ready for the first Cactus League game but said he was making good progress.Right-hander James Kaprielian has had a setback in his recovery from shoulder issues, Melvin said. Kaprielian will have an MRI and is not expected to start training camp with the rest of the team’s pitchers. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Yankees for Sonny Gray in 2017 but hasn’t pitched in a game since 2016.

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