chase fieldHere it is: the final tuneup before the regular season gets underway on Monday. The Cubs play the Diamondbacks again this afternoon, with Jason Hammel making his final preseason start.

Starlin Castro played in the first couple Spring games, and now he’ll play in the last one. The Cubs’ starting shortstop is back in the lineup after missing the last four weeks with a strained hamstring. Hopefully he comes out of this one clean – and looking locked in at the plate; that would be nice, too – and he’s ready to go for Monday. It’s nice to know that the Cubs have some quality infield versatility and depth, but Castro still might be the single most important player on this roster. Continued struggles in the first few months, and the Cubs have a serious problem on their hands. Out of the gates hot and looking like he’s got his swing back? The Cubs have options aplenty. And they might even win a few games.

If you’re looking for hints on how Ricky Renteria sees the lineup shaking out (at least with respect to the top of the order), you get those hints today. Bronson Arroyo is on the mound for the Diamondbacks, and, in a regular season game against him, I’d be perfectly fine with this lineup, though I’d probably want to see Sweeney in center, and Bonifacio at second. That said, I’m not looking for the Cubs to bench Barney against all righties. So, yeah, I’m fine with this. I really can’t get over how many mix and match options this roster will afford RR.



Lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  5. Ryan Sweeney, DH
  6. Welington Castillo, C
  7. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  8. Ryan Kalish, LF
  9. Darwin Barney, 2B



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