Ian Happ will be going for his 33rd leadoff home run of the spring as he leads the lineup yet again when the Cubs take on the Royals this afternoon. Okay, he’s actually only hit three dingers in the 1st inning thus far, but two of those have come against MadBum, so they count for more. Or not, whatever.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are at the corners with Chris Gimenez cleaning up. Wait, Gimmy is batting fourth? Yes, yes he is. Mike Freeman’s spring MVP bid has lost a little steam of late, so he’ll look to pick up the pace as he gets yet another start at second base.
Which, what’s the deal with Javy saying he’s 110 percent? I guess we just have to hope this is one of those super-precautious moves.
Peter Bourjos is in center (Happ is the DH in this one), Ryan Court is in right, Chesny Young is at short, and Jacob Hannemann is in left as Alec Mills takes the bump. You may recall that Mills was one of nine players optioned to minor league camp Tuesday, but that doesn’t preclude him from making appearances with the big league team.
Justin Grimm, Dillon Maples, Cory Mazzoni, and Steve Cishek are listed as the righties available out of the pen, with southpaws Justin Wilson and Jose Rosario also out there. Grimm is an interesting case, as the Cubs are now only 15 days from the start of the season. He’s still a possibility for that final roster spot, but his $2.2 million salary becomes fully guaranteed after Opening Day.
First pitch from Surprise Stadium is scheduled for 3:05 pm CT and the game can be heard at MLB.com.
Update: Jon Lester will still be making a start, but it’s against AAA Reno (D-backs) over at Salt River Fields.