The Cubs open the 2016 season exactly one week from today in Anaheim against Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the Angels. Jake Arrieta will face Garrett Richards in the first game of arguably the most anticipated season in the history of the franchise.
Joe Maddon’s team has work to do over the next six days leading up to Opening Night. There are three games remaining on the Cactus League schedule. The Cubs break camp Wednesday, leaving for Las Vegas for two exhibition games at Cashman Field with the Mets. The Cubs travel to Anaheim on Saturday prior to one last practice game on Sunday afternoon versus the Angels.
Officially, the Cubs have 36 players on the roster and have until Sunday, April 3 at 11:00am CDT to sort out the final one or two spots on the first 25-man roster of the season.
Spring Training hasn’t seemed as long this year. And with one week to go, Opening Day is just around the corner.
Dexter Fowler left Sunday’s game after the first inning for precautionary reasons the Cubs said with mild tightness in his left side. Fowler started the game in center and hit an opposite field homer to right off lefty James Paxton in is only at bat.
The Tribune reported the Cubs “are bound to take a conservative approach” with Fowler just a week away from Opening Day.
The Cubs did not provide any additional updates on Fowler. Maddon should address Fowler’s injury prior to Monday’s Cactus League game against the Angels.
Updated 12:07pm CDT – Dexter Fowler talked to the beat writers Monday morning about the mild tightness in his left side that forced him out of Sunday’s game. Fowler said the injury was from crashing into an outfield wall. He felt the issue before the game and said if it was a regular season game he would be able to play through it. Fowler is not worried about this being a lingering issue.
According to Buster Olney, the Mets are the only team in the National League with an easier schedule than the Cubs to start the season.
The Cubs have 15 of the first 41 games against teams that finished .500 or better last season … 22 of the first 41 games are versus the Reds, Padres, Brewers, Braves and Rockies.
Plus, the Cubs play at Wrigley 22 times in a 32-game stretch from April 11 to May 15.
In what turned out to be just a bizarre scene Sunday when bees swarmed Sloan Park, Jason Heyward said he was stung 10-20 times and several of those were to his face and neck. Heyward is not allegoric to bees.
Heyward moved from right to center an inning before bees took over the outfield at Sloan Park. According to the Tribune, the bees “came from right and caused him to swat his hands before leaping to the top of the fence.”
The bees moved to left field and forced the Cubs relievers to vacate the bullpen. The Cubs moved to the right field pen and shared it with the Mariners. The game was delayed for around five minutes.
Thankfully Heyward was not severely hurt and is not allergic to bees.
Cubs Starting Rotation
Joe Maddon set the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation on Sunday and in the process which catcher will likely be behind the plate.
Maddon announced Sunday the Cubs will begin the season with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks.
Unless the Cubs are facing a tough lefty, Maddon will have Miguel Montero, David Ross, Montero, Kyle Schwarber and Montero behind the dish each time through the rotation … at least for now.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jason Hammel felt good about his outing Sunday and throwing more than 100-pitches. Hammel was not pleased with his numbers or one of the home runs he served up to Robinson Cano according to the Tribune.
• Jeff Samardzija keeps the Cubs in his heart but relishes new digs with the Giants according to Bob Nightengale.
• Ryan Williams posted his last Spring Training diary on ESPN Chicago … and he had a great experience in big league camp.
• The Yankees released OF Chris Denorfia after he exercised the opt-out in his contract.
• Dennis Lin reported Sunday that he would be surprised if the Padres made any big trades before Opening Day. Several teams have been linked to Padres’ pitchers, most notably James Shields, over the last week to 10 days. Lin would not rule out A.J. Preller making a “minor move or two.”
• The Braves acquired LHP Eric O’Flaherty from the Pirates for cash.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs released Felix Doubront
2006 – Cubs traded Todd Wellemeyer to the Marlins for Lincoln Holdzkom and Zach McCormack
2003 – Cubs released Charles Gipson
2001 – Cubs traded Eric Hinske to the Athletics for Miguel Cairo
1999 – Cubs traded John Cotton and Kevin Rawitzer to the Rockies for a PTBNL. Colorado sent Tarrik Brock to the Cubs on July 7, 1999 to complete the trade
1997 – Cubs released Kevin Tolar
1995 – Carson Sands, born
1993 – Cubs released Steve Lyons
1989 – Cubs released Rich Gossage
1989 – Cubs released Al Nipper
1988 – Ryan Kalish, born
1981 – Cubs traded Dennis Lamp to the White Sox for Ken Kravec
1979 – Cubs released Mike Sember
1975 – Julio Zuleta, born
1969 – Cubs purchased Charley Smith from the Giants
1967 – Shawn Boskie, born
1963 – Cubs sent Dave Gerard and Danny Murphy to the Colt .45’s for Hal Haydel, Dick LeMay and Merritt Ranew
1957 – Buddy Bailey, born
1940 – San Francisco (Pacific Coast League) purchased Al Epperly from the Cubs
1909 – Lon Warneke, born