SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- According to several reports including this one in today's Sun-Times, the Cubs may announce who the fifth starter will be even before Andrew Cashner takes the mound in Surprise against the Rangers this afternoon. This preview is being written several hours before game time, so by the time it posts at 1 p.m. CDT, we may know that Cashner has been selected. That likely would be the best choice for the team, even though Cashner could also do a good job in relief. What happens to Carlos Silva if Cashner gets the job? Reports yesterday said the Cubs were going to release him and eat the $7.5 million they still owe him ($5.5 million from his deal this year, and a $2 million buyout for next year). Silva seems ill-suited to bullpen duty and there are other candidates (Jeff Stevens, Marcos Mateo and even Casey Coleman, though Coleman seems better-suited to starting every fifth day at Iowa) who could be better bullpen choices. Coleman, in fact, will get his chance to show what he's got this afternoon, after Cashner. Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood are also on today's list of scheduled pitchers.
The Rangers counter this afternoon with lefthander C.J. Wilson. He'll be followed by Mark Lowe, Arthur Rhodes (yes, he's still around at age 41, after having a good year for the Reds last year) and Alexi Ogando, who is still a possibility for the Rangers rotation. Complete lineups after the jump.
Johnson LF Barney SS Byrd CF Soto C Pena 1B M Smith 3B Fukudome RF DeWitt 2B Cashner P
That's Marquez Smith at third today, getting a late-spring start before he'll start the season at Iowa.
At the time I had to leave for the game, the Rangers lineup had not yet been posted. So, if anyone can find it, post it in the comments.
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 ESPN2. It's also on WGN radio with Pat and Zonk.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.