Chicago Cubs: Spring Training update before Thursday’s game vs Milwaukee
Baseball is back as Cactus League Games begin on Thursday for the Chicago Cubs and a lot has been happening since pitchers and catchers reported. I’ve provided a quick roundup and a look at what is to come this spring.
It all begins on Thursday when the Cubs head to Maryvale to take on the Milwaukee Brewers. Joe Maddon announced his starter for Thursday’s game, as well as the starters for the next three Cactus League games, per a report on Cubs.com.
Travis Wood is going to start the Cactus League opener and he will be followed by Kyle Hendricks. As I am sure many of you have heard, the Cubs announced that they will be stretching out a lot of bullpen arms this spring, as Jesse Rogers states in an ESPN Report.
While most of these arms will start the season in the bullpen for the Cubs, it’s not a bad idea for the Cubs to stretch them out in case they are needed throughout the season. Thursday’s game starts at 2:05 and can be heard exclusively through a free live webcast on cubs.com, with Len Kasper and Mick Gillespie.
The Cubs will continue their spring slate with a game against the Angels (their Opening Day opponent) on Friday at Sloan Park. Pierce Johnson is scheduled to start that game, which also starts at 2:05, and can be heard on Cubs.com.
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Saturday sees the Trevor Cahill get his first start of the spring as the Cubs take on the NL Central foe, the Cincinnati Reds at Sloan Park. This will be the first game on the Cubs new radio home, 670 The Score, WSCR. First pitch is also at 2:05.
Sunday sees newcomer Adam Warren start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. That game will also be heard on 670 The Score and begin at 2:10 in the afternoon.
As you can see, lots of excitement as the Cubs are about to dive into their first games of the season. With the Cubs expecting another deep run in the playoffs, Maddon wants to be cautious about the amount of innings that Arrieta, Lester and Lackey pitch this spring.
Arrieta, recently named the Cubs Opening Day Starter, pitched almost 250 innings total last year, which was almost 100 more than his previous career high and could have been the reason for his struggles later in the playoffs.
Lackey is 37-years-old so, obviously, the Cubs want to keep him fresh all year, three years removed from Tommy John surgery. This doesn’t mean the Cubs are limiting their innings as both Lester and Arrieta will likely finish with over 200 innings in the regular season, but the Cubs just want to be smart about how they use their pitchers, especially with five guys in the bullpen who can all go more than one inning.
Another interesting tidbit is that Cubs third base prospect, Christian Villaneuva is going to miss a few months after break his right fibula will leaping to make a catch during practice. While Villanueva was likely not going to make the make the Cubs roster out of the spring, he has been seen as potential trade bait down the road or could be called up in case of an injury at the big league level.
Hopefully, he is able to recover quickly. The slight bit of good news is that the Cubs will be able to place him on the 60-Day DL, thus opening a spot on the 40 man roster.
That’s basically what’s happening in spring so far as players got one more to get ready before actual games start. I will have a full breakdown of the 40-man roster, non-roster invitees and a look at the 25 man roster this weekend as we start Cactus League games.