Open Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks at Mesa, Thursday 3/29, 2:05 CT

I'm trotting out the clock I posted a couple of weeks ago for the Daylight Saving Time change, to remind you that this afternoon's game starts at 2 pm Central time, not 3 pm -- the noon local time start is actually being used for all five Cactus League games today, as this will be the final day of play in the Valley. In order for the Cubs to get out in time to make their flight to Las Vegas, the teams have also agreed to play nine innings and no more, so it's possible that there could be yet another tie game today. I also have my own flight back to Chicago late this afternoon, so I'm hoping for a quick game.

Wade Miller, who pitched great last Saturday, faces the D'backs' Doug Davis.

As noted here yesterday, Ria Cortesio, the only female umpire in professional baseball, will work one of the bases in this afternoon's game in Mesa, the first woman to umpire a Cactus League game since Pam Postema did so in 1989.

In today's dead-tree edition of the Arizona Republic (could not find an online link for this), there's a "pop culture" box featuring four Cubs -- Rich Hill, Ryan Theriot, Jacque Jones and Ronny Cedeno. Asked what they'd be doing if they weren't playing baseball, they replied:

Hill: "Probably be a musician in a band."
Theriot: "I majored in management and marketing in college, so something in the business world."
Jones: "Teaching history in high school."
Cedeno: "Maybe an administrator at a university."

You can picture that last one, right?

Weird happening: the Cubs may be without Henry Blanco for a day -- or more -- next week, because he has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness in a federal trial in Florida:

Blanco is one of at least two active major-leaguers scheduled to appear at the trial. The other is Seattle Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Lou Melendez, Major League Baseball's vice president for international operations, also is on the prosecution's witness list.

Blanco said he tentatively plans to use the Cubs' day off Tuesday to travel from Cincinnati to Florida, then testify Wednesday on the first day of the trial and try to get back to Cincinnati in time for the series finale against the Reds, which starts at 12:35 p.m. Thursday.

Under that plan, the Cubs would play the second game of the season without a second catcher, according to a team source. Manager Lou Piniella would not comment on the situation Wednesday.

The article also says that Matt Murton -- who caught in high school -- might wind up as the designated "emergency catcher" this season.

Today's game is available on MLB.TV through the Mediacenter; it's also on conventional cable TV for those of you who have access to CSN Chicago. Gameday

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