Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies, Scottsdale, Arizona, Friday 3/23, 3:05 CT

Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano hits a home run during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The Cubs made a number of roster cuts this morning, none of them really any surprise. Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Adrian Cardenas, James Adduci, Michael Brenly and Bobby Scales were all reassigned. Rizzo, B-Jax and Cardenas are all on the 40-man roster and will likely be optioned to Iowa. J-Jax, Adduci, Brenly and Scales were non-roster invitees and will be assigned to the minor league camp. All except Brenly could wind up at Iowa, too.

Dale Sveum, according to Carrie Muskat, said it was "tough" to send B-Jax down because he's ready now. Perhaps a deal for Marlon Byrd can still be arranged so B-Jax can be "ready" at Wrigley Field instead of Des Moines.

Also, Sveum announced that Ryan Dempster will be the Opening Day starter against the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg on April 5. Matt Garza will get the ball on April 7, the second game of the season, and Paul Maholm gets the No. 5 slot. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad have the inside track to the No. 3 and No. 4 slots (not necessarily in that order), but that won't be announced until next Wednesday, March 28.

Personally, I think Garza should have had the nod because he was the team's best pitcher in 2011. Dempster will be making his second Cubs Opening Day start.

Really, after Game No. 1, it doesn't matter much. Someone has to take the ball every day and go out and win.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Stewart 3B, Castro SS, LaHair 1B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Johnson LF, Barney 2B, Samardzija P

Rockies lineup:

Fowler CF, Herrera SS, Gonzalez LF, Giambi 1B, Cuddyer RF, Nelson 2B, Hernandez C, Blake 3B, Chatwood P

Jeff Samardzija gets the call for the Cubs. This will be my first time seeing him start this spring; I'll be very interested to see what's different about him. He'll be followed by Casey Coleman, Lendy Castillo, Manuel Corpas and Trever Miller.

For the Rockies it'll be Tyler Chatwood, followed by Rex Brothers, Edgmer Escalona and Josh Outman.

Today's game is cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. Here is the MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Note that for spring training gameday links, you probably will not get pitch-by-pitch as during the regular season; these are unofficial links. Each play will be posted, but might not be updated until after each half-inning.

There will be one overflow thread, which will post at 4:30 pm CT. The "Recent Stories in Game Threads" box on the sidebar is where you'll find it.

Please visit our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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