Roster Cuts Here, More Coming: Cubs vs. Athletics at Mesa, Friday 3/26, 3:05 CT

The Cubs cut their spring roster to 33 earlier today:

Right-handed pitchers Jeff Gray and Marcos Mateo, left-handed pitcher John Gaub and outfielder Jim Adduci were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Infielders Darwin Barney and Bobby Scales and catcher Robinson Chirinos were assigned to minor league camp.

No surprises there, except maybe Gray, who I thought had a chance to make the team, and if not, he would have wound up on the DL. Via tweet from Gordo, James Russell will be the last man in the bullpen. The rest aren't so easy. Bruce Miles writes:

Bench coach Alan Trammell managed the Cubs' 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The former standout shortstop of the Detroit Tigers weighed in on a couple of shortstop issues for the Cubs.

First, he expressed confidence that second baseman Mike Fontenot could handle a backup role at short.

"I'm confident to say that he could do it," Trammell said. "We've played him a few games there, and I'm glad we got him in just recently back-to-back games at short because so often in spring training, you can play a game and get taken out in the middle of the game and then not play there for while. Then you go back out there, and my point is, you don't get any action. When you play him there two games in a row, at whatever position, you usually get tested."

If this is true and the Cubs keep Fontenot as a backup IF, that's probably bad news for Andres Blanco. Fontenot is a better hitter than Blanco, but Blanco is far superior defensively. If that's the decision, also, you're likely to see both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar make the team. Gordo has a more complete rundown of some of the options.

Meanwhile, expect Derrek Lee to have recovered from "the chair incident" and be back in the lineup today. Aramis Ramirez is supposed to be back in the field this afternoon, too.

Ex-Cubs-who-are-now-Athletics news: one of the A's roster spots appears to be coming down to a choice between Eric Patterson and Jake Fox:

[A's assistant GM David ] Forst was asked how much Cactus League performance will be weighed when making roster decisions on utility men Jake Fox and Eric Patterson. Both are out of options, meaning they'd have to be exposed to other teams through waivers before they can be sent to the minors.

"You have to take it into account, especially with (position players), who are going to be there opening day and have to perform," Forst said.

That bodes well for Patterson, who entered Wednesday hitting .400 over his past six games and has drawn praise from manager Bob Geren. Fox is just 2-for-32 (.063) overall.

Carlos Zambrano makes his fifth spring start and hopefully, will be ready to go six innings. He will face A's lefty Dallas Braden. The A's are a split squad today, both road games, so who knows which of their regulars will be in Mesa this afternoon.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today. Today's game is all over various media: WGN-TV, WGN Radio and the MLB Network, all live.

MLB.com Gameday

SB Nation game preview

As usual, the first pitch thread will post at 3 pm CDT, and the overflow thread at 4:15 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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