Saturday is a day off for the Cubs and Joe Maddon’s team will spend it in Anaheim. The Cubs have one more exhibition game on the spring schedule, Sunday afternoon (2:05pm CDT) against the Angels, before the season opener on Monday night (9:05pm CDT) at The Big A.
The Cubs set the Opening Day roster Tuesday but have not made the necessary moves to officially start the season. The Cubs have until 11:00am CDT on Sunday to place Javier Baez, Christian Villanueva and Dallas Beeler on the disabled list. Plus, the Cubs have not optioned Aaron Brooks to Iowa. Brooks hasn’t pitched in a game since March 17, so there could be more going on there than has been reported.
Before Friday’s exhibition with the Mets, Joe Maddon said he’s almost decided on a lineup for Opening Day. Maddon indicated he is still “slightly debating” Ben Zobrist versus Kris Bryant hitting third in front of Anthony Rizzo.
Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward are batting one-two followed by Zobrist or Bryant then Rizzo in the cleanup spot. Maddon said this week that Rizzo would be sandwiched between the two.
The Cubs open in an American League park for the first time. Maddon will have another hitter in his order. Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler are expected to be in the lineup. Maddon hasn’t decided which one to use in left field. Maddon hinted at using Tommy La Stella as his DH on Monday, likely instead of Soler.
According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs Opening Day lineup will likely be Fowler, Heyward, Zobrist/Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrist/Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Montero and Russell.
With the Cubs facing Andrew Heaney in the second game of the season, Maddon will have a different lineup against the southpaw. And his order will change again for the series with the Diamondbacks under National League rules.
Joe Maddon held Dexter Fowler out of Friday’s lineup. With the Cubs getting a day off on Saturday, Maddon said he wanted to give Fowler a little more time. Fowler is “good to go” according to Carrie Muskat.
Fowler left last Sunday’s game at Sloan Park after the first inning with mild tightness in his left side. Fowler said then he could have played through the injury if it was the regular season. Fowler and the team said he was removed for precautionary reasons.
According to ESPN Chicago, Fowler will play Sunday and get three to four at-bats.
Maddon also plans for his starters to get “three or so” at-bats on Sunday in advance of Opening Day.
Veteran catcher Taylor Teagarden received an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball. Teagarden was caught on video by Al Jazeera discussing his use of PEDs. MLB saw enough and rightfully slapped him with a suspension.
Teagarden was designated for assignment by the Cubs last fall. Teagarden elected free agency and did not sign with a team in the off-season. Once the Al Jazeera video surfaced he was unsignable.
According to the report from USA Today, MLB’s statement on the suspension “did not cite a failed drug test.” MLB noted in the statement that “Teagarden will be suspended upon his signing with another team for violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”
News, Notes and Rumors
• Tyler Kepner reported the Cornerstone of the Cubs’ quest plays first base.
• Patrick Mooney explained what the Cubs learned from the playoff loss to the Mets.
• According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs’ spring circus gives way to work on unfinished business.
• ESPN Chicago: Cubs fall to Mets in Jason Hammel’s spring finale
• Dave Cameron explained how it could all go wrong for the Cubs.
• ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs have the talent to win it all, but things could go wrong.
• According to Baseball America, Joe Maddon is the eighth most accomplished active manager.
• Dave Martinez managed the Cubs exhibition game Thursday night against the Mets.
• The Diamondbacks received a significant blow late Friday night. OF A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow sliding into home. Pollock slid headfirst into the plate. Pollock will need surgery according to the team and will miss significant time. The Diamondbacks could not provide a timeframe Friday on when he would be able to return.
• Dennis Lin reported the Padres’ rumored interest in Pablo Sandoval “is overblown.” The Padres tried to sign when he was a free agent but there is “not much appeal in that contract now.” Lin explained “even if the Padres could swap, say, James Shields for Sandoval and something else, he wouldn’t make a lot of sense on San Diego’s roster.”
• And speaking of the Padres, A.J. Preller made another confusing roster move. Just five days after acquiring RHP Dan Straily from the Astros for C Erik Kratz. Preller lost Straily to the Reds on a waiver claim. Cincinnati added Straily to its roster Friday.
• Former Cubs’ outfielder Junior Lake was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo and off the Blue Jays 40-man roster.
• Adrian Gonzalez spoke openly with Buster Olney about the players concerns over TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions).
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Mariners purchased Tony Zych from the Cubs
2014 – Cubs released Darnell McDonald
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Ryan Sweeney
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Randy Keisler
2006 – Cubs released Matt Skrmetta
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Damian Jackson
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Hideo Nomo
1983 – Mets traded Tom Veryzer to the Cubs for Rob Schilling and Craig Weissmann
1975 – Hisanori Takahashi, born
1970 – Jon Lieber, born
1966 – Cubs traded Bob Humphreys to the Washington Senators for Ken Hunt
1959 – Al Nipper, born
1953 – Hector Cruz, born
1937 – Dick Radatz, born
1930 – Art Ceccarelli, born
1917 – Cubs traded Jimmy Lavender and $5,000 to the Phillies for Al Demaree
1908 – Cubs chased an umpire at an exhibition game in Birmingham, Alabama. Umpire sued for $5,000 after claiming third baseman Harry Steinfeldt deliberately spiked him. It is unknown how the case was settled.
1881 – Joe Stanley, born
1878 – Jack Harper, born