cubs park springHooray! Slightly more “real” fake baseball than yesterday’s intrasquad game!

Today, the Chicago Cubs open the doors on Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona, and kick off their 2014 Cactus League schedule by welcoming the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jeff Samardzija gets the start for the Cubs, and new signee Bronson Arroyo will start for the Diamondbacks. Yes, it’s the hair versus hair matchup you thought we’d lost when Arroyo left the Reds.

Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Jose Veras are among the relievers who are expected to see action today. It’s interesting that, so far, Cabrera is very much being treated as a reliever, despite his success last year at AA upon being converted back into a starter. Perhaps, because he’s out of options, the Cubs are acknowledging that, if he’s going to make the team, it’s going to be in the pen.

Today’s game is on WGN-TV, or you can listen to the audio on Cubs.com.

The lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
  2. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  3. Starlin Castro, SS
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  5. Junior Lake, CF
  6. Welington Castillo, C
  7. Justin Ruggiano, LF
  8. Mike Olt, DH
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF

Some interesting bits in there. Junior Lake starts in center field, which is somewhat meaningful, given that Justin Ruggiano instead takes left (and Ruggiano is someone who can play center). If the Cubs weren’t thinking about Lake as a possible center fielder, and wanted him to lock down left field, that’s where he’d be playing from day one. I am happy about this development.

Emilio Bonifacio is in at second and in the leadoff spot. Mike Olt gets a start, and it will be *very* interesting to see him at the plate. He doesn’t start at third, reportedly because of some shoulder soreness. He tells Carrie Muskat that it happens every year, so it’s not necessarily a concern.

Welington Castillo is behind the plate, which is a good sign that he’s definitely over any lingering effects from his late-season (minor) knee surgery last year.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Stropp loads the bases. Who is this Marmol? His control isn’t there.

    • Edwin

      That’s who Strop is. He’s basically Marmol, with fewer K’s and slightly fewer BB’s.

      • NorthSideIrish

        All that for just 5% of the price of one Marmol!

      • Kyle

        He’s always been a streaky pitcher. I think Cubs fans are overrating him because we saw him on a hot streak post-trade and haven’t seen the long periods where he walks the world yet.

        • Edwin

          I just hope fans know what to expect. Hopefully his walks get more under control, but I think they’ll always be an issue with him.

  • cubmig

    Olt. No notable eye problems……..just judgement ones.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Wesley Wright gives up a double, D-backs score.

  • NLIADad

    As youuuuu wisssshhhhhhhh

  • Edwin

    Rondon with a nice inning. 3 K’s.

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