SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- One week from today, the Cubs and Pirates will be opening the 2011 regular season at Wrigley Field. Most of the roster spots are now decided; Reed Johnson is set as fifth outfielder. Also, it now appears that Darwin Barney will get starts at 2B, maybe even the majority of the starts. That's a good thing; Barney is probably the Cubs' best defensive infielder, and we have seen some defensive problems this spring. If Barney can help stabilize the middle infield, and hit the way he hit last September and this spring, that's a distinct improvement.
Today's announcement that Robert Redford is to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day was a head-scratcher -- until BCB'er daver found this link that indicates that Joe Ricketts is one of the executive producers of Redford's new film. Never mind the discussion of "who owns the team", it's clear that this was a pander by the family to Redford because of this connection. Yes, I know Ron Santo Jr. is to sing the 7th inning stretch -- but the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day ought to be given to someone with a Cubs team connection.
Randy Wells will start this afternoon against a Mariners split squad in Mesa. Seattle lefthander Aaron Laffey, who is not one of their rotation starters but instead a bullpen hopeful, will start for them, followed by Tom Wilhelmsen, Cesar Jimenez and Chris Ray. Game time goes back to the usual 1:05 (3:05 CDT). Complete lineups after the jump.
J Wilson 2B
M Wilson RF
Here's all the media information for today.
MLB.com Gameday for today's game
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today. Today's game is being televised by WGN; it's also being carried nationally on the MLB Network. Also, there's an internet audiocast on MLB.com with Mick Gillispie.
There will be an overflow thread posting at 4:30 p.m. CDT. As usual, the overflow thread will NOT post on the front page but will be in the "Recent Stories In Game Threads" box on the right sidebar. If you need an extra overflow thread beyond that one, post it in the FanShot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.