What first seemed like a weird joke has become anything since as Nick Madrigal continues to get a ton of run at third base. He’s back there again Thursday afternoon and batting in the five-hole, which is weird even for a spring game. Nico Hoerner leads off at second base, followed by Ian Happ in left and Cody Bellinger in center. Eric Hosmer is the cleanup batter at first base, with Madrigal next and Tucker Barnhart behind the plate.
Mike Tauchman is in right field, Nelson Velázquez is the DH, and Zach McKinstry handles the shortstop duties. McKinstry seems to have a leg up on the utility infield spot, though Madrigal breaking camp as a semi-regular third baseman would limit the possibility for several other players — namely Edwin Ríos and Miles Mastrobuoni — to make the roster.
Marcus Stroman makes his second start of the spring as he looks to use the pitch clock to his advantage while sankin’ that sanker to induce grounders. He should be able to stretch a little deeper into this start, likely making it into at least the 3rd inning. Following him on the mound will be Ryan Borucki, Michael Fulmer, Bailey Horn, Anthony Kay, Julian Merryweather, and Rowan Wick. The latter really needs to start showing something because the Cubs have a lot more options for the bullpen if he can’t lock down those late innings.
First pitch from Sloan Park is set for 2:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 2, 2023