Edwards trying to make the Cubs again after helping the team win the 2016 World Series

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: Carl Edwards Jr. #58 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Nationals Park on May 03, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

The memories came rushing back to Carl Edwards Jr. right when he arrived for another spring training with the Chicago Cubs.

"I walked in and the first thing I could say was, ‘Man, this is where it all started for me,'" he said Saturday. "To be back here in the Cubbie blue, it just feels amazing."

Edwards is trying to make the Cubs' roster again after he broke into the majors with the team in 2015. 

The wiry reliever agreed to a minor league deal with Chicago last month that included an invitation to big league camp for spring training.

He spent the last two years with Washington, going 7-6 with four saves and a 3.07 ERA in 89 appearances. He missed most of last season after he was placed on the injured list in June with right shoulder inflammation.

"Last year cut short a little bit by injury but a reliever in this league who's had success, so I think health is important for him for sure," Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. "And our job right now is let's get a healthy version of him."

The 32-year-old Edwards had a 3.30 ERA and 234 strikeouts in 174 1/3 innings over 192 appearances in his first stint with the Cubs. 

The biggest highlight was helping the franchise win the World Series in 2016 for the first time in 108 years.

"I kind of look at it like I would go into any other spring training," Edwards said. "As long as I take care of my business and do what I got to do and prove my durability, then I think I have a good chance to make the team."

Edwards was a 48th-round pick by Texas in the 2011 amateur draft. The right-hander was acquired by Chicago in a 2013 trade that moved Matt Garza to the Rangers.

He also has played for San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta and Toronto, and he is eager to pass along what he has learned along the way to the young players with the Cubs.

"I feel like I've been doing that everywhere ever since I left here," Edwards said. "You always have that name of you won the World Series. So everybody wants to talk to you about it.
"The biggest thing here is what I tell the guys a lot, it's like: ‘Hey guys, we're going to have fun. No matter what.'"

Edwards has been having fun this spring reminiscing with Kyle Hendricks, who also was on the 2016 Cubs team. And he has a connection to catcher Jorge Alfaro, another non-roster invitee who he knows from his time in the Rangers' system.

"Me and Kyle, I talk to him every day," Edwards said. "Still the same guy. Has not changed one bit. Always has a big smile and always has positive things to talk about."