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camelback ranch white soxFortunately SIGNING ALL THE PLAYERS doesn’t help you win in Spring Training. Well, actually, it does. But, fortunately, it doesn’t matter.

Which is to say the Cubs take on the mighty, wealthy (and mighty wealthy) Dodgers today at Camelback Ranch, which is also the Spring home of the White Sox. Carlos Villanueva makes his debut for the Cubs, and he gets the start.

Luis Valbuena gets a chance to show what he can do at second base, with Darwin Barney taking on the DH role today. Valbuena is already a mortal lock for the roster, but I’d imagine the Cubs want some chances to see some additional work at positions other than third base.

You can catch the game via audio on Cubs.com, and you can chat about it here.

Today’s lineup:

1. Luis Valbuena, 2B

2. Darwin Barney, DH

3. Nate Schierholtz, RF

4. Scott Hairston, CF

5. Brad Nelson, 1B

6. Darnell McDonald, LF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Junior Lake, 3B

9. Alberto Gonzalez, SS

  • BluBlud

    Could you imagine that as our regular season lineup. I think we could go 15-147 with lineup.

    • Bigg J

      I could see that record is the Astros were still in the Central, but I dont know if we could even win 10 games. We wouldn’t have a starting rotation because no one would want to pitch with that behind them.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Could we get Campana back so he could pitch?

        • hansman1982

          Mmmm, Campana’s Eephus Fastball is a thing of beauty…

          • Cubbie Blues

            Isn’t the Eephus something you try to do and not your normal fastball?

            • hansman1982

              It’s an adjective of fastball. Like saying 4-seam or cut…

            • ETS
              • Cubbie Blues

                Oh, I realize what it is. We are just funnin’.

                • hansman1982

                  Ya, a fairly hilarious pitch. Espeecially when it’s someone’s fastball.

        • BluBlud

          These guys would struggle hitting a 32 MPH fastball. Might be a good idea. All he needs is a chance.

          • Justen

            He could just “float it” like Henry did from Rookie of the Year.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Brett – Justen pointed out on the forums it is watchable today too via MLB.TV.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, JJ. I usually don’t put MLB.tv (picking up away broadcasts) in these posts, but maybe I should going forward.

      • Diamondrock

        It’s pretty hilarious watching the Dodgers broadcast. “That’ll read well in the Dominican papers.” “That should play well in the Chicago papers.”

  • cjdubbya

    No Soriano? He must have been traded! #IrrationalSpringTrainingThoughts

    • Cubbie Blues

      Barney is in the best shape of his life and now will have 40 HR evidenced by his DH role.

      • hansman1982

        40?!?! ONLY 40?!?!?!?

        YOU FOOL!!!!

  • Chad

    I’m guessing the cubs want to see what Lake can do at 3B as well. I’m really thinking that could be his sticking spot. A guy can dream of an infield of Lake, Castro, Baez, and Rizzo. There’s a lot of good batting in there and if Lake can turn it on on defense, wow. That would be awesome.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Absolutely – but with Stewart and Vitters out, Lake’s going to get plenty of looks at 3B either way. No need to start Valbuena at 2B today to accommodate it.

      • Jason

        If Valbuena is gonna be a utility guy I would play him at second at first. Get some time it before the season.

      • Chad

        Valid point. I’m very high on Junior Lake. I think he will develop into a stud. However, I think that he could be a guy that gets involved in a big trade next year (say Price) as he has a lot of value as a prospect. I’m assuming we will see him in Iowa this year????

        • Cubbie Blues

          Yes, he should start in AAA. He has over 700 PA in AA.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Sveum has already said he will be playing Lake at 3B and Baez on 2B some.

  • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

    With a 39 game exhibition schedule, I can see trying every possible combination of lineups. But it could make for boring baseball.

  • Rcleven

    Valbuena is sure taking advantage of his playing time.

  • another JP

    Wow… yesterday we light up Matt Cain in the first and now it’s 2-0 after a Schierholtz homer against Billingsley.

  • Mat B.

    Yep, this powerhouse lineup just had their first 3 hitters hit for extra bases!

  • another JP

    I like the idea of Valbuena getting time at 2nd base. If he begins to put up numbers similar to his minor league stats he’d have a bat worth keeping in the lineup… would also give us some flexibility if Barney’s hitting failed to progress or he were traded someday.

    • PKJ

      Barney’s defense > Valbuena’s offense

  • cubchymyst

    Is the audio feed from MLB.com freezing up constantly for anyone else? I’m trying to figure out if it the feed or if the internet connection on my work is screwing it up.

    • Rcleven

      Mine hasn’t skipped a beat.

    • hansman1982

      I had a problem initially…

      Is that Len Kasper doing the PbP?

      • Cubbie Blues

        That’s what I had assumed.

      • cubchymyst

        The problem seems to have gone away some, figured it was the internet here just wanted to double check though.

  • Cubbie Blues

    It’s working fine for me but, the formatting of GameDay is funky and cut on the margins.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Schierholtz hits a solo HR off of Billingsley! 2-0 Cubs!

  • Justen

    Villanueva trying to pound the bottom of the strike zone and not getting a few borderline calls.

  • Rcleven

    Villanueva struggling.
    Hope it’s spring jitters.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Blake Parker coming in during the 1st.

  • Rcleven

    Well Villanueva just gave the crowd something to cheer about.

  • BluBlud

    Is Schierholtz is going to make me have to admit that he was a good signing, or is this just a case of meaningless spring baseball.

    SN: Even if he hits .300 with 50 HR, I would still rather have my boy.

    • hansman1982

      le sigh…

      • BluBlud

        Ahhh!!! Relax. I really do think you guys take my Campana post way more serious then I do. I would say 99.9% of the time, I’m laughing on my side of the computer.

    • Edwin

      trick question, spring baseball is always meaningless?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    It’s just one play, but Valbuena didn’t look so good getting to the bag for a stolen base attempt throw (which Castillo put a little too much tailing action on, and Valbuena couldn’t keep it out of center field).

    • Rcleven

      Shaking off rust at second. Don’t remember him even playing second this winter.

  • Rcleven

    #Rockies’ Chris Volstad sharp in debut 2 ip, 2 hits, 0 runs. Kept ball down. He’s competing for a rotation spot.
    It’s only spring. It’s only spring. It’s only spring.

    • Edwin

      Last spring Joe Mather had an OPS of 1.116. He went on to be one of the worst players in baseball last year.

      Rodrigo lopez had an ERA of 2.45.

      It’s spring training baseball. Tracking any player inning by inning or PA by PA is gonna be a rollercoaster, lots of ups and downs, and at the end you’re in the same place you started. Unless the rollercoaster goes off the tracks or something, I guess.

      • Kubphan82

        I wouldn’t call the games meaningless, you just have to know what to look for. For example, Valbuena being late to the bag at 2nd for and attempt for a CS, Shark was trying to only throw in the strike zone, the Cubs are laying off of ALL low pitches…. The overall stay line may be meaningless but the games and situational hitting and pitching are still very important.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com DB Kyle

        I’ve always been a “nothing at all that happens in ST matters even a little” guy, but I remember being impressed with Fangraphs’ article last season showing that there’s a moderate amount of meaning in ST K and BB rates for pitchers. We talked about it in reference to the spring Samardzija was having and hoping it would carry over, and it did.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          huh, I missed that! But now that I think about it, most of the ST:Regular season analyses I have seen focused on batting statistics, and found no association.

  • another JP

    Samarjzida walks a guy yesterday that scores and now Villanueva walks two guys that both score. Great idea to pull him and make these guys understand to throw strikes or ride the pines.

  • Patrick G

    I’m not watching but why did they pull Villanueva ? Only had 15 pitches

    • Rcleven

      14 to Gorden alone.

      • Patrick G

        Oh that explains it. Thanks

  • ETS

    i thought the mlb was free (for ST) am I wrong?

    • Rcleven

      free. go to MLB.com.

      • Rcleven

        Went to Cubs.com and got the $20.00 page. Went to MLB.com and got the free audio.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Well that’s dumb. But good to know.

        • 100 Years of Tears

          Just went to MLB.com and got the $20 page. WTH?

          • Rcleven

            click the audio link.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The audio is supposed to be.

      • 100 Years of Tears

        Checked the other day and it said it was $20 for spring training and the season… not sure if there’s a free spring training-only deal.

        • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

          The game yesterday was on a blackout for some reason.

          • 100 Years of Tears

            How do you get free audio? When I click on the headphones icon, it tells me to subscribe for $19.95… 200 ST games and all regular season games. Is there a ST-only freebie???

            • hansman1982

              Goto http://www.cubs.com
              On the home page, first screen click “Listen”
              You may need to Log-In or Sign-Up. Neither will cost money.
              It should give you a listing of all the games today.
              Scroll down and click on the MLB.com link next to CHC: under Gameday Audio.

              It should pop up a window with the game.

              Listen. Enjoy.

              • 100 Years of Tears

                Thanks for the help, guys…

            • hansman1982

              Don’t click on the MLB.com Gameday Audio logo. This takes you to the pay page that will give you the regular season.

              • miggy80

                Thanks hansman!

  • another JP

    Love how our catchers are throwing out base-runners thus far. Any reason why Blake Parker hasn’t really had much of a chance with to pitch for the Cubs? He’s been in AAA for some time now and his stats are pretty good for the PCL. Seems to give up a few walks but is otherwise effective from what I can tell.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He got a shot last year but his elbow flared up almost immediately (stress reaction).

      • another JP

        Stress reaction seems to be going around the clubhouse. If guys like Parker, Casey Coleman, Bowden, McNutt, Whitnack, or Zych figure it out this year we’d have some unbelievable pitching depth.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Darnell McDonald! 3-run HR! 5-2!

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Castillo! HR!

  • another JP

    Darnell. McDonald.

  • another JP

    Capuano getting lit up. Our bloated pitching staff is better than LA’s bloated staff (for now).

  • hansman1982

    Is that Len and JD on the audio?

    • Rcleven

      Len and Mick from Smokies.

  • cubmig

    Am coming on board late and maybe it’s been said…but the game is on FSNPT here in California—-in case some get that station.

  • Rcleven

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