Chicago Cubs Lineup: No Rizzo Today, Hoerner at 2B (UPDATE: Happ Replaces Almora in CF)

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Chicago Cubs Lineup: No Rizzo Today, Hoerner at 2B (UPDATE: Happ Replaces Almora in CF)

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are not playing a regular season baseball game tonight at Wrigley Field, but they’re also not scrimmaging themselves, so I will TAKE IT, PLEASE AND THANKS.

Here is the first legitimate Cubs lineup we’ve seen since March 11th. I’m giddy.

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

1. Kris Bryant, 3B
2. Jason Kipnis, DH
3. Javy Baez, SS
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Willson Contreras, C
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Victor Caratini, 1B
8. Nico Hoerner, 2B
9. Albert Almora Jr., CF Ian Happ, CF

This is actually a pretty telling lineup, all things considered. As we know, Manager David Ross is still contemplating his playing time split at second base for 2020, deciding between the veteran Jason Kipnis and the rookie Nico Hoerner. And in his first true exhibition lineup of summer camp, he found a way to get both in there against the White Sox.

Hoerner, who’s got the better glove, takes the position on the field, while Kipnis, who’s probably got the better bat (at least against righties in the near-term) takes Anthony Rizzo’s spot as the first lefty in the lineup behind leadoff man Kris Bryant. Victor Caratini, meanwhile, covers Rizzo’s spot at first base, and everyone else falls in line.

(UPDATE: See below. Happ is now in CF, which was apparently the original plan) There’s one big piece of fallout, however: With Caratini taking over as designated hitter, Kyle Schwarber is still in left field, which has pushed Ian Happ to the bench, as Albert Almora Jr. mans center. This isn’t a regular season game, so I won’t read too much into it, but this is pretty clearly a group of starters and there are only two Summer Camp games left. It’s all the stranger with a righty, Drew Anderson, taking the mound for the White Sox (Almora is historically much weaker against RHP). Again, I don’t want to look too far into it right now – it could legitimately mean nothing – but it certainly stands out, given our expectations for center field and the way Happ finished last season and produced in the Spring.

We’ll have a full Pre-Gamin’ post closer to game time (7:05 CT). It’s good to be back.

UPDATE: Gordon Wittenmyer explains that Ian Happ was originally slated to play center field today, but was not in the initial lineup because of an “early-day question of his availability,” which could mean his test results were not in yet (an all too common occurrence these past two weeks). In any case, this validates our earlier questions of why Almora would be in this lineup, against a righty, with just three total exhibition games before the regular season. Ian Happ is very likely the nominal starter in center field, and now that he’s “available,” he’s back in there instead of Almora.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami