After a long, anticipated wait, the Chicago Cubs first 2015 spring training game will be underway tomorrow.
On Thursday afternoon, the Cubs’ split-squad games will be played against the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants.
On Friday however is when the real excitement will begin, when ace Jon Lester takes the mound against the Cincinnati Reds in front of the home crowd at Sloan Park.
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According to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, veteran David Ross will catch Lester that game.
Maddon told Rogers:
"“I have not agonized over that thought yet. I don’t think he wants to attempt to dictate who’s going to catch him on any specific night. I haven’t gotten there yet.”"
37-year-old Ross caught for the left-hander previously during the 2013-14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox; therefore there is an obvious catcher-pitcher chemistry already in place.
Although, Maddon told Cubs.com’s Carrie Muskat:
"“I think Jon will tell you straight up he’s comfortable throwing to any catcher.”"
In 50 games last season, the 37-year-old hit just .184 with seven home runs and 15 RBI. And in 418 1/3 innings, Ross compiled a .983 fielding percentage, 27 assists and committed seven errors.
Although age is catching up to the 13-year catcher, his veteran presence will immediately be felt both on the field and within the young clubhouse.
For Lester, Friday can’t come soon enough. And I’m sure every Cubs fan would agree as well.
Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds will be held in Mesa with the first pitch scheduled for 2:05 pm central.