Chicago Cubs News: Team names starters; Ben Zobrist misses workout

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs open Cactus League action in two days – and, believe it or not, there’s a lot going on in and around Sloan Park this week.

At long last, we shall have Chicago Cubs baseball. After a winter that seemed like it might never end, it’s back. We (almost) made it, everyone. *insert collective sigh here*

Pitchers and catchers reported to Sloan Park last week and full squad workouts began earlier this week. With Spring Training games opening in the next 48 hours, a lot has happened. Here’s a quick-hit recap of what you might have missed from Arizona.

A little of this, a little of that

  • The Cubs named their respective starting pitchers for the first three Cactus League games. Left-hander Michael Roth will start against the Brewers Friday. Eddie Butler takes the ball Saturday, followed by Jen-Ho Tseng on Sunday. This is pretty normal – most of the big-name guys don’t start getting into games till the calendar hits March.
  • Ben Zobrist

    missed another workout with a back issue

    , although

    Joe Maddon

    is insistent he’s not concerned. The veteran struggled mightily in 2017 and worked hard to get ready for the season. Keep an eye on Zo in the weeks to come to see how he progresses.

    More from Cubbies Crib

  • In the wake of last week’s tragic shooting in Parkland, all 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School caps before games Friday – with an option to don them in-game, as well. Given Anthony Rizzo‘s ties to the school and the tragedy itself, the Cubs seem likely to do just that.
  • Former Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is headed to the Seattle Mariners on a Minor League deal. Ah, the dark days. I remember driving to Denver to see him make his Major League debut against the Rockies. And to think we thought he could be something. Sigh.
  • We also broke down the rumors linking Jake Arrieta to the Philadelphia Phillies. It makes sense on Philly’s end for more than one reason – but as Brett over at Bleacher Nation points out, a 2-to-3 deal (which is what the team is targeting) probably won’t get it done.
  • Darvish impressive in first live action

    Of course, Yu Darvish was impressive (based on all accounts) in his first live BP session this week. And he’s got a big fan in battery mate Willson Contreras.

    "“He’s insane,” Contreras said. “The movement he has on the baseball, on the breaking balls and the fastball command he has is crazy.”"

    The Cubs catcher offered up some thoughts of his own this week. After MLB announced pace-of-play initiatives for the upcoming season, Contreras made one thing clear: he’s willing to get his checkbook out if it comes down to it.

    God, I just love Willson.

    Next: Rizzo embodies a captain - even without the 'C'

    What’s Next:

    Chicago takes on Milwaukee in split-squad action Friday afternoon in Arizona. With a 2:05 p.m. CT start, you can catch the radio broadcast via a stream on We’ll have reactions and a recap after the action here at Cubbies Crib.