We knew that the Chicago Cubs intended to hold back their front four starting pitchers (Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey) from the first week of Spring Training games, but because of the deep pool of other potential Spring starters, we didn’t yet know who would take the ball in the first stretch of games.
Now we do.
Today, the Cubs announced that Mike Montgomery will start the home opener at Sloan Park against the A’s, and Rob Zastryzny will start the other game that day against the Giants in Scottsdale (Cubs.com). Depth starter Jake Buchanan will get the nod on Sunday at Sloan against the Indians, and Brett Anderson will make his Cubs debut as the starter on Monday at Sloan against the White Sox.
That’s as far as the Cubs announced things, though it’s fair to expect that other depth starters will probably work into those four games as well. Among the other starting pitchers in camp: Aaron Brooks, Eddie Butler, Pierce Johnson (though he may be bullpen-only at this point), Alec Mills, Caleb Smith (though I believe he’s being looked at primarily in the bullpen), Duane Underwood Jr., Daniel Corcino (possibly bullpen-only), Dylan Floro (possibly bullpen-only), Seth Frankoff, Casey Kelly, Williams Perez, and Ryan Williams.
Yes, it’s a ton of potential depth. And the Cubs will have to use this time in Spring Training to sort the roles out for when players head to AAA Iowa and AA Tennessee to begin the year.