Morning Marquee: Jon Lester named Cubs’ Opening Day starter


On Monday, the widely-expected naming of southpaw Jon Lester as the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Night starter took place, ending speculation that right-hander Jake Arrieta could be a dark-horse candidate to start the April 5 tilt against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

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Speaking of the Friendly Confines, the renovation estimated completion dates have once again been pushed back. Not only are the bleachers not going to be ready until mid-May and June, respectively, but concourse work and the right-field video board are also expected to miss the Opening Day target date that was once hoped for.

In other Cubs news, the team announced that four of the five spots in the starting rotation are already locked up in Lester, Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. The final slot is up-for-grabs between Edwin Jackson, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront and Travis Wood – with Jackson coming as a bit of a surprise given his dismal performance over the last two seasons.

Adam Wainwright returned to the hill Monday, tossing a bullpen session without issue after suffering an abdominal strain last week, the New York Mets and Texas Rangers are coming up in somewhat puzzling trade rumors involving Dillon Gee and Jurickson Profar and the Atlanta Braves’ Melvin Upton is now battling an injury at camp.

Here’s more from the world of Major League Baseball:

“Rough winter delaying Wrigley Field renovation work” – Cubbies Crib

“Pirates open Spring play with Black & Gold Game in Florida” – Rum Bunter

“Candidates excited about Braves’ center field opportunity” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Edwin Jackson somehow in the running for rotation spot” – Cubbies Crib

“Phillies lose to a college team in Spring tune-up” – Call to the Pen