Meet the new Maddux, same as the old Maddux


He entered April almost 40 and possibly in the last season of his splendid career.

Three great starts and a birthday later, and the words "contract extension" and "Greg Maddux" are being used in the same sentence.

Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker was asked last week about whether the club would consider re-signing Maddux this offseason if he continues to pitch well.

"Or maybe before, who knows?" Baker said. "It's how he feels. He's not going to go out there and embarrass himself. You can count on that. I'm just glad we got him."

Maddux, who turned 40 on April 14, signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Cubs before the 2004 season. He won just 13 games last year, ending a streak of 17 straight seasons with 15 or more wins.

But he has looked like the old Maddux since 2006 began. He has won all three of his starts and allowed just 10 hits, four walks and three earned runs (1.33 ERA) in 20 1/3 innings heading into today's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. At this point, there have been no specific discussions with the Cubs on another deal, according to his agent, Scott Boras.

"I haven't talked to Greg about it, and he drives the train here," Boras said.

But it's something Baker, for one, would like to see happen sooner than later.

"I love having him here," Baker said. "He's part of all this."

Gonzalez milestone

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez picked up his 500th career double Wednesday, making him the 21st major leaguer to reach that mark while also having 300 homers.

He joins an impressive group that includes 14 Hall of Famers. The San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds is the only other active player besides Gonzalez with 300/500.

"I always say I don't have the best skills, but I'm going to give it everything I've got," said Gonzalez, 38. "It's not always been pretty, but there's something to be said for guys that play in the league for a long time and know how to get the job done."

To commemorate the feat, Gonzalez was given second base and a plaque.

Edmonds as leader

St. Louis outfielder Jim Edmonds' hard-nosed play has always done the talking for him. Now, at 35, he's trying a different approach. He said he is making a conscious effort to work with the club's younger players, such as catcher Yadier Molina.

"For the first time in my career, I'm trying to go out and be a cheerleader - a positive role model for the young guys," Edmonds said. "When you're a veteran on the team, you've got to think of a lot of things besides yourself."

Quick hits

The Cincinnati Reds' Tony Womack, who is making $1.1 million, could be released or traded before May to clear up a middle-infield logjam. ... Los Angeles Dodgers manager Grady Little might rest outfielder J.D. Drew for as many as 30 games to keep him healthy. ... In celebration of Jewish Heritage Day on May 28, the Florida Marlins are giving away youth T-shirts honoring first baseman Mike Jacobs. Jacobs, though, isn't Jewish and didn't know he had a common Jewish name until he played minor league ball in Brooklyn in 2001.

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