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cubs park shoesThe Cubs are expecting the Dodgers and a sellout crowd today at Cubs Park after an off-day on Thursday. The game will be on MLB.tv for those of you who have it, or you can listen to audio of the game on Cubs.com. I assume Yasiel Puig and Luis Valbuena will have a bat-flip-off at some point.

If you miss the live broadcast, it’ll be replayed tonight at 8pm CT on MLB Network.

Pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks (he of the great Sahadev Sharma piece yesterday) gets the start for the Cubs today, and, although the Cubs have said they fully expect him to begin the year in the AAA Iowa rotation, it’s become just a tiny bit acceptable to wonder if he’s got a shot at winning the 5th starter job, at least for a start or two until Jake Arrieta is ready. I still think it’s unlikely, particularly when you consider that guys like Carlos Villanueva and James McDonald are expected to break camp with the team anyway, and a guy like Chris Rusin is already on the 40-man roster. But, hey, it’s conceivable at this point.

Today’s lineup features Darwin Barney back at second base, with Donnie Murphy getting his fill-in chance at shortstop. Emilio Bonifacio handles center field, and, aside from the DH and the injured Starlin Castro, this is a fairly plausible regular-season lineup. Back-up catcher George Kottaras starts behind the plate.

Lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Ryan Sweeney, DH
  3. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  5. Justin Ruggiano, LF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  7. Donnie Murphy, SS
  8. George Kottaras, C
  9. Darwin Barney, 2B
  • bbmoney

    “I assume Yasiel Puig and Luis Valbuena will have a bat-flip-off at some point.

    YES

  • Jon

    I want my Baez god damn it!

  • JakeMac

    That fairly plausible regular season lineup makes me a little queezy. Looks pretty bleak actually seeing it in print.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Welcome to 2014, baby.

    • Jim

      This is also the best the lineup will look all year, especially when the mid season trades go down…

      • C. Steadman

        Potential September lineup…

        C-Castillo
        1B-Rizzo
        2B-Alcantara
        SS-Castro
        3B-Baez
        LF-Vitters
        CF-Lake
        RF-Ruggiano

        • C. Steadman

          Bryant could be in there as well, but I personally think he ends the year with Iowa in the playoffs

          • TimBeam

            Bryant can win two championships before he ever even makes it to Chicago. He can be a proven winner!

            • C. Steadman

              If he wins another championship with Iowa, you almost have to bring him up for the championship luck! haha, kidding of course

    • Funn Dave

      Adding Castro should make it a little bit closer to an almost halfway respectable-looking lineup.

      • DarthHater

        New Cubs slogan for 2014: “A little bit closer to almost halfway respectable-looking!”

  • nate1m

    I hear Castro’s out another week. Thoughts?

    • itzscott

      He’s hurt maybe?

    • Corey C

      Have you ever pulled your hamstring?

      Not letting it heal correctly the first time, it’ll nag you for months. Better him not playing now than in March/April/May being 75%

  • Corey C

    Looking forward to the day Baez gets called up. I remember when Rizzo did. So much excite.

    • ruby2626

      How about when Castro was called up and he set a record with 6 RBI’s on a 3 run homer and bags clearing double.

      • Corey C

        That was when I was a bad Cubs fan. I wasn’t watching :(

  • candyland07

    id rather Castro be out until his hamstring heals. Too many times a player rushes and then that player becomes ineffective for 2 years in extreme cases. Hamstring …two weeks . two months, come back to soon will have problems for two years. Hate hamstring issues , those type of injuries sound innocent enough – out two weeks comes back fine and some times ,out two weeks then complications set in. let him rest, the longer the better. He can come back the third week of the season as long as he is healthy..

  • NorthSideIrish

    I was actually excited to see that MLB.TV was only offering the Dodgers feed today, but no Vin Scully. Vin probably doesn’t need much of a Spring Training.

    • Patrick W.

      Yeah we got this gem about Ryan Sweeney: “Made his way up from A ball to Double A to Triple A to the Majors” so I had to look because I wondered if he had done that in one year or something. Nope. Just the extremely normal progression that Charlie thought we should all know Sweeney had followed.

      • bonger0493

        Swingles

  • Rudy N

    Anyone else having problems with the MLB.tv feed. I cant the game to load. other games will tho.

    • bonger0493

      I got the game on but it keeps cutting out

    • Patrick W.

      I’m on just about the fastest network you can imagine and it is cutting out for me about once every five minutes for about 30 seconds. Seems to have calmed down in the last 10 minutes.

      • Danny Ballgame

        How does Hendricks look?

        • MightyBear

          Hendricks looked good today. Against mostly Dodger regulars today too.

        • Patrick W.

          From my untrained eye, pretty good. He was inducing ground balls, which is something you always like to see. Struck out 4 in 3 innings and walked 1.

          • Edwin

            That’s good. His control’s been a little shaky the last couple times out.

  • cubmig

    I agree ^. Hendricks could very well be an option for the rotation. Hope he goes north with the team when it’s time.

    • Edwin

      I think he’ll be one of the first pitchers called up, but would think the Cubs would want to give him a little time in AAA to see how he handles it.

  • cubmig

    Neither team has scored, so one could say, the Cubs are looking good—-if not better than the Dodgers, given the comparison of players and records. Here’s to a Cubs win. [caused by a Valbuena HR!]

  • JakeMac

    Different subject, but seeing the A’s are likely to be without Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin, at least to start the year. Parker labeled with the dreaded “forearm strain, visiting Dr. Andrews” label, and Griffin out with elbow discomfort.

    Anyone know the A’s system well enough to speculate on if they might have the pieces to trade for the Shark?

    • Edwin

      First glance is no. Addisson Russel is their top prospect, and he’s basically untouchable at this point. They don’t really have any big pitching prospects at the moment, and the interesting prospects they do have are still a couple years away.

  • cubmig

    Question: Why is Barney still on the team?

    • ruby2626

      Good question, my hope is he’ll be gone by opening day. If Olt makes the team I figure he’ll be gone for sure with the 3B plattoon basically moving over to 2B. Of course they’ll just be keeping 2B warm until June when Javier possibly arrives. Is anyone else ticked Olt is not in the starting lineup today, would have been nice to build off of Wed momentum. With 2 splits squad games this weekend i’m sure he’ll get some P.T.

    • TSB

      If the world was to end on March 20, I’m sure someone would post “trade Barney before it’s too late!”

  • cubmig

    well….well….well……Guess what? Valbuena hit a “BUENA”!

    • Patrick W.

      Yeah but no bat flip. REPEAT: NO BAT FLIP.

      • cubmig

        ahhhhhh…….but the ball……..it left the park.

      • bbmoney

        Poor form Luis…poor form. We need all the bat flips.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Damnit. Just release him now.

        • bbmoney

          Let’s not put too much stock in this lack of bat flip. It is just spring training after all. Had this been a regular season game, maybe he would have put in the required effort.

          • cubmig

            Maybe RR can create a Bat Flip contest much like the Bunt one…….I’d be all for that!

          • Patrick W.

            We Talkin’ About Practice?

            • cubmig

              My whole bat flip thing was a “TSS”—-Talkin’ Stupid Shit.”

  • cubmig

    Cubs “do it” …….and caused by the Valbuena long ball……

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