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las vegas signToday is about as cool as it gets in Spring Training: there are two games, one of them is in Las Vegas, and one of them is televised!

The one that is televised is the same as the one in Vegas, and that’s today’s game against the Mets. It’s on WGN, so drink it in. The other game, against the Royals, is on WGN Radio. Watch one, listen to the other at the same time?

Jeff Samardzija starts against the Royals, and Carlos Pimentel – who has already been cut – will take the ball in Vegas. He’s still probably battling for a rotation spot at AAA, so these performances matter for the 24-year-old righty. (UPDATE: Well, maybe it’ll be Tsuyoshi Wada. My bad – it looks like Pimentel will follow Wada at some point.)

The Vegas game, you’ll get to see Javier Baez start at shortstop, and Kris Bryant is likely to make an appearance at some point. Over in Surprise (the city, not the reaction), Mike Olt starts at first base, Brett Jackson is in right, Josh Vitters is DH’ing, and Christian Villanueva starts at third.

Lineup against the Mets:

  1. Darwin Barney 2B
  2. Donnie Murphy 3B
  3. Nate Schierholtz DH
  4. Anthony Rizzo 1B
  5. Ryan Sweeney RF
  6. Javier Baez SS
  7. Darnell McDonald LF
  8. Eli Whiteside C
  9. Matt Szczur CF

Lineup against the Royals:

  1. Junior Lake, CF
  2. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  3. Welington Castillo, C
  4. Justin Ruggiano, LF
  5. Mike Olt, 1B
  6. Chris Valaika, SS
  7. Josh Vitters, DH
  8. Brett Jackson, RF
  9. Christian Villanueva, 3B
  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    We keep talking about Olt or Valbuena/Murphy as the starting 3B. I’m starting to think its between Olt and Olt/Valbuena. Olt can also DH and backup Rizzo.

    Could the infield (starters and bench) be:

    Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Olt, Valbuena and Bonaficio? Murphy makes the roster if Barney is traded?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If Olt’s not starting, I’m not sure I want to see him sitting on the bench half the time. I’d rather he got a month or two at Iowa, playing every day (at a variety of positions, if need be) and getting regular at bats. That’s the most important thing for him right now.

      • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

        Good point, as always, Brett. I hope Olt starts. I understand the FO having interest in Olt getting reps at AAA while Valbuena and/or Murphy develop some flippable value, but I don’t want that to happen. Mostly because I think even if there is value there, it’s pretty darn low, and only worth a VERY fringy low-level prospect.

        I would love to see Olt, Rizzo and Castro have great years, and set the table for a 2015 opening day lineup of Olt, Rizzo, Castro and Baez in the infield with Castillo behind the plate and an OF of Bryant, Lake and an awesome free-agent signing.

        • willis

          I also want Olt to grab the gig. He’s doing ok so far and that game other night gave me the tingles. He keeps that up, he’ll be the starting 3B.

          But if it’s even in question, I agree with let him play every day in AAA whether at 1B or DH or 3B when Villanueva needs a rest. All or nothing. No point in him being a bench bat.

    • J. L.

      That’s what I’ve been thinking. If Olt makes the team, and I bet he does at this point, then there’s no place for Murphy on the team, although everyone seems to think of him as a lock. (I really doubt Barney gets traded.)

  • candyland07

    I have noticed that Olt has been working out at first base . Thought he was a third baseman , Could the Cubs keep Olt at first and move Rizzo to RF. I love players that can play multiple positions. We all know that Rizzo can play 1b but would putting Rizzo in RF and Olt at First be something worthwhile? At this moment in time -its fun to watch.

    • bbmoney

      His shoulder was sore and he wasn’t ready to make throws from 3rd in a game so they had him playing 1st so he could still get some ABs.

      Rizzo ain’t moving off 1b for Olt.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Olt plays solid 3B which is a much more premium position then 3rd. Moving him to 1st is just giving away value. The only way I see them doing that is he forgets how to play 3rd.

        Otherwise, if someone the Cubs think more highly of is pushing Olt at 3B, he will likely just be traded for other parts we need.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          …and I don’t see how he displaces Rizzo at 1B while he plays GG level 1B and gives you solid production.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s just about getting Olt’s bat in the lineup while playing him at a position of familiarity (the 3B/1B transition is rather easy). The Cubs aren’t looking at Olt as any kind of starting first baseman. He may play there occasionally in the future, but just on a fill-in basis.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Speaking of rizzo, I know spring training is meaningless, but he looks more calm and confident this year.

  • candyland07

    Olt has been a cup of coffee so far that is not to say i want to see him play first base. Anything that make the Cubs a better team is always good.

    • Funn Dave

      A cup of coffee? What?

  • auggie

    Since everyone is out partying because of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations here in Chicago, I’ll pinch hit for some of the regulars. I wouldn’t be surprised if Murphy gets cut. Either that or Barney will have to be traded. Murphy’s numbers last season were way above his normal production and I would expect him to regress this year. He hit 11 hr last yr. Prior to that the most he had ever had was 6 hr in 2007 with the A’s.

    We could even see the Cubs try to deal both Barney and Murphy as it appears they want to keep Bonifacio to play 2nd and Olt to play 3rd. It’s also great to finally have the Cubs on WGN!

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      If Olt wins the 3rd base job out of ST then I agree that Murphy goes.

  • college_of_coaches

    Brett, it looks like Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to start in Surprise, followed by Pimentel.

    • college_of_coaches

      Sorry, that should read Vegas instead of Surprise.

  • Coop

    I’m at the game in Vegas. Stoked for Baez. Perplexed at Bryant not being in the starting lineup.

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      They play another game in Vegas tomorrow. Bryant could get a start then.(that’s what I’m hoping for since ill be their)

      • Coop

        I’ll be back tomorrow, so hoping so.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Looks like Wada is trying to get a spot pitching batting practice. Big thumbs down !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

      Mets players thank wada for his services so far.

  • Coop

    Not a great top of the 1st

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    Wada got nada.

  • another JP

    It’s a good thing this is only spring training because shark’s not real sharp. Three runs on five hits in 2.1 innings. Make that six hits. …

    • Diehardthefirst

      Yep- he’s an Ace alright

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    In his own mind.

  • brainiac

    almost time for a bunch of internet weirdos to start criticizing every move that our poor hard working 21 year olds are going to make. my prediction is that our younger players will be the new scapegoats for the theo administration.

    of course you can’t put the entire weight of a 1b franchise on the shoulders of a few youngsters who are still learning. the predictable outcome is that without veteran support and a stable team that they can’t mature as well as they could, right? well, we’re about to dispel all of those common sense traditions right now.

  • Corey C

    RIZZO SMASH, X2!

  • Medicos

    Great call Corey C. Rizzo has changed his overall swing. Much less movement of the bat and it has obviously produced dividends. Two HRs. Let’s hope the improvement continues throughout the 2014 season..

  • Corey C

    Baez’s swing is so explosive, I think he might pull something one day.

  • Corey C

    Lol, that was not a strike. That was off the plate.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Except for catcher that lineup against Mets today could be opening day?

  • http://BN Sacko

    Is Kalish in for Mcdonald yet? Gawd get this over with. When is the next cut?

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