Chicago Cubs News: Jordan Wicks to start Spring Training Opener

After finding success in a brief stint at the Major League level last season, Jordan Wicks will be the starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs' Spring Training Opener on Friday.

Sep 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jordan Wicks (36) delivers a
Sep 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jordan Wicks (36) delivers a / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs open their Spring Training schedule on Friday with a game against the Chicago White Sox.

While new Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell has tried to minimize the importance of Spring Training, Friday will mark his first game as the Cubs manager, even if it is in an unofficial capacity.

Counsell has stressed the health of players is the primary focus of Spring Training but there are jobs to be won. The Cubs have one opening in their starting rotation and while veteran Drew Smyly may see a return to the rotation, it's possible if not likely that second-year pitcher Jordan Wicks will remain considering the success he had during the final month of the regular season.

Wicks made 7 starts for the Cubs last season while posting an ERA of 4.41. Wicks' final outing of the season, against Counsell's Brewers, inflated his numbers as he allowed 6 runs in 1.2 innings pitched.

It will be Wicks who Counsell turns to as the Cubs' open their Spring Training schedule.

It's likely that the competition for the final spot in the Cubs' rotation includes Smyly, Wicks, Hayden Wesneski, and Javier Assad. Counsell has said previously this off-season that he envisions Wesneski playing an important role on the Cubs' pitching staff so if he has a strong Spring Training, it wouldn't be out of the cards that former Yankees' farmhand breaks camp as a member of the team's starting rotation.

Wicks was the first of the Cubs' top-three pitching prospects to make their Major League debut. Cade Horton and Ben Brown are expected to be a part of the Major League pitching staff by the end of the season with many expecting Horton to quickly become the next ace of the team's rotation. Unlike what was the case with Wicks when he made his Major League debut, Horton and Brown may first debut out of the bullpen at the Major League level.

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