Cactus League Cubs Baseball is Here!
By Joe Han
Tired of just reading about live BP sessions and intrasquad games? You are in luck! Cactus League game action has arrived for our Chicago Cubs! The North Siders visit the LA Angels in Arizonia to kick off the exhibition slate. Game time is 2:05 pm CST and it will be aired live on WGN 720.
For those of you tired of hearing about injuries, this post will cannot help you there. Both Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters have mild quad strains, which could set back both players up to two weeks. So the Cactus League Opening Day line up for the Cubs will feature Luis Valbuena at third base, potentially foreshadowing what we will see come April.
What we will not see at Wrigley to start the 2013 season is prospect Logan Watkins leading off and playing second, which he has been penciled in to do today against the Angels. Back up outfielder hopeful Dave Sappelt will hit in the two spot and play CF. Anthony Rizzo mans what figures to be his regular season home in the third spot and play first base, as the Cubs get him in prior to his departure to play in the World Baseball Classic for Italy.
September 25, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Dave Sappelt (17) hits a double during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The most recent free agent signing Scott Hairston will provide the line up protection for Rizzo today in the clean up spot. Hairston will play RF while rocking the number 21 of Sammy Sosa. The aforementioned Valbuena will hit fifth, followed by catcher Welington Castillo. Sophomore Brett Jackson gets the start in LF and will hit seventh, but don’t get too excited Cubs fans; Alfonso Soriano has not been traded yet.
Non roster invitee Brent Lillibridge will hit eighth and play short. As I mentioned yesterday, Lillibridge is the other player (along with Valbuena) who will have the chance to capitalize on the injuries to Stewart and Vitters. Darnell McDonald brings up the rear of the order, batting as the DH since Carlos Zambrano is no longer in camp to demand at bats as a pitcher. McDonald split limited action between the Red Sox and Yankees last season.