The 5-4 Chicago Cubs head off to Scottsdale Stadium to take on the San Francisco Giants, who will probably have Buster Posey behind the plate. His name is Gerald, but he goes by Buster. He chooses to go by Buster. Say it a few times. Buster. He wants to be called Buster.

The game is at 3:05 CT, and will be on the radio on We’ll also do the Game Thread thing over at the Message Board.

Chris Volstad gets his second Spring start, hoping that it will be as successful as his first.

Today’s Cubs lineup features Joe Mather getting a start at third base, which I sense is not altogether without meaning – versatility would be the key to him pulling off an upset, and landing a roster spot:

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Starlin Castro, SS

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Bryan LaHair, 1B

6. Joe Mather, 3B

7. Steve Clevenger, C

8. Dave Sappelt, CF

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • wernert

    Yeah but would you want to be called Gerald?

    • Brett

      Middle name is “Dempsey,” too. He wasn’t given too many good options as a kid…

      • rcleven

        Nick names are funny. Had a grandfather who’s name was Bertle and went by Fido.

  • rbreeze

    Might be our opening day top 5 starting out today’s game.  Mather could be that wild card for a bench spot.  If he is I’m sure that Sveum will use him a lot more than Quade would have.

  • cubmig

    Mather should be given a spot on the club headed north when the time comes. He’s a high risk reward gamble that should be allowed to prove anyone with misgivings wrong. …….just my opinion.

  • Andrew

    looks pretty close to the opening day lineup to me, with Stewart, byrd, and Soto starting instead of the backups.

  • MichiganGoat

    Hum Sapplet and Mather staring over Campana, if I was reactionary I’d say that is meaningful.

    • Brett

      Has Campana even gotten a start in CF yet?

  • cubsin

    So far, neither Campana nor Sappelt have done much to justify a 25-man roster spot ahead of Mather. Unless I’m mistaken, both have options left as well. I think our bench players will be DeWitt, Mather, Baker, Johnson and one of Clevenger or Castillo.

    • Kyle

      Sappelt and Campana have had careers that justify their inclusion over Mather.

      Joe Mather is a AAA roster-fill scrub who can’t hit in the majors, and nothing he does in non-competitive warmups in March should change that.

      • Norm

        This goes back to your “spring training stats mean nothing” post from earlier.

        • Kyle

          I really hate when people use analogies from their own lives to make points about professional athletes, but I’m going to do it anyway and be a hypocrite :)

          I’m a fairly serious amateur chess player. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve beaten or drawn high-level professional masters online. I’ve been beaten at the local club by people who barely know the rules.

          Why? Because casual and competitive environments just aren’t the same thing. Nobody can gin up the same juice for a game that doesn’t count, be it chess or baseball. Nothing that happens in casual environments tells you anything about what would happen in a competitive environment.

          • Brian

            I like Campana, but his 1 tool- speed, and a nice story about and behind him, doesn’t overcome the lack of two, three, four, and five tools. Yet, the underdog does overachieve at times. Hopefully the best player\fit wins the spot.

          • DocWimsey

            Well, there is a reason why amphetamines are PEDs whereas relaxants are not! (Of course, bennies also are great at clearing up hangovers, too…. 😎 )

      • Brian

        Really, Campana has career numbers? Same sort of path for all three of these guys isn’t?

        • Kyle

          Well, in this case Campana’s career tells us that he has a singular skill that some people may find useful on the roster.

          Sappelt >>> Mather with Campana off to the side as incomparable because he’s not really a ballplayer, just a pinch-runner/mascot.

          • Bric

            Sappelt was not the target of the Marshall trade, Wood was. Just as Fuld was not the target of the Garza trade. If he succeeds (like Fuld), good for him. If not, no big deal.

            If ST shows us anything, it’s that there’s always a rookie like Sappelt, or a veteran FA like Mather, on every team. Their competition makes for a little drama, but means little as far as the season goes. The real question is the state of the outfielders 1-3. The rest is just idle drama and not really worth debating. IMO

            • Kyle

              As far as I’m concerned, Sappelt *is* one of our best three outfielders. Or at the very least, he’s tied for No. 3 with Soriano in LF.

              • ferrets_bueller

                Agree, completely.

  • morgan

    i didnt really like the reed johnson signing when it went down and dont like it now, hes taking a spot from younger players that should be on the team more than him, sapplet mather and campana should all make the roster over johnson, but prob wont cause he a veteran. Not to mention brett jackson

    • Norm

      There is room for Sappelt.
      I don’t think the organization is going to suffer by having Reed over Campana or Mather. All of them are easily replaceable.

  • mark

    Anybody know how many pitches Campana has seen this Spring? He just went 3 and out again. Swung at ’em all, this time. That’s 4 strikeouts in 10 ABs so far, most of them 3 and out. OTOH, can’t make a first pitch out if you can’t make contact. So he’s making the pitchers work a bit harder for the out.

    Joe Mather is a AAA roster-fill scrub who can’t hit in the majors

    That’s always been the book on LaHair, until last year. LaHair just struck out 3 more times, hitting .150 for the Spring. Is he going to force the Cubs’ hand?

    Sveum says Mather can play both infield corners as well as all three outfield spots. Right now he’s looking more useful than LaHair.

  • dick

    I’m out in Mesa, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how good the Cubs look. Stewart looks like he is healed and ready to play. Almost all the kids have looked good. I am a bit concerned about LaHair. Soto has looked pitiful, and Marmol……ewwwwww. Mather has really looked good….I would be surprised if he doesn’t make the opening day roster. It will be a bad year, but I’ve revised my win estimate from 60 to 72.

    • daveyrosello

      What’s been the problem with Soto? Haven’t heard anything on that front…..

      If LaHair is LaBust, the Cubs can always use the likes of Baker or Mather at 1B until Team Theo is ready to promote Rizzo in the June/July timeframe. Despite all the winter talk in support of LaHair, I gotta believe he is working with a very short leash here.

  • mark

    LaHair and Mather are the same age, 29. Mather actually has more homers and more RBIs than LaHair. LaHair has a higher average, OBP and SLG. Big difference seems to be Mather did fairly well his first year, then tanked. LaHair did very well last year for the Cubs.


    At Bats 268
    Batting average .228
    Home runs 9
    Runs batted in 30


    At Bats 195
    Batting average .262
    Home runs 5
    Runs batted in 16

    Point is, they’re both gambles at 29. That’s what the Cubs are doing this year, gambling on long shots.

    Good to see DeJesus find the ball with his bat, finally. They’re betting on a comeback year for him, too.

  • mark

    So Fontenot and TheRiot are going head to head in SF? Theriot has a lot more ABs so far.