SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- As I mentioned in Wednesday's recap, I'm not going to this game. Reasons: I really don't like Camelback Ranch's prices, layout, distance from where I am, and the parking mess they still haven't cleaned up after three years there. I'm spending part of the time Thursday at Fitch Park and hope to have some video to post here later on.
This is a totally unsolicited plug: the HoHoKams would really like you to come to Friday's split-squad game at Mesa between the Cubs and Japan, if you are in the Phoenix area and looking for something to do. I'm told there are plenty of seats available, the weather's great, and you'll get a chance to see one of the WBC semi-finalists. Also, we learned today that Anthony Rizzo will be playing in this game, in his first Cubs appearance back from Italy's great run in the WBC.
Unsolicited plugola over, let's continue!
The other big story from yesterday was the tour Tom Ricketts and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith gave to assembled local media of the new Cubs spring-training complex. Carrie Muskat has details, which include:
The new site will combine the Major and Minor League operations, although they will have separate clubhouses. All players will share the 9,000-square foot weight room, which will be the largest of any Major League team in either Arizona or Florida. The Cubs use their Mesa facility now for 11 months out of the year, as players take advantage of the site to rehab from injuries and train for the upcoming season. It also hosts Arizona Fall League, Rookie League and instructional league games. The new stadium will feature a party deck in left field, which will be similar in concept to the rooftops that surround Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fans also will be able to take advantage of a picnic-type experience and spread a blanket on the grassy berm in right field.
I've driven by the construction every day on my way to Mesa. The location is convenient and the team says parking and access will be better than it is at HoHoKam.
Barney 2B, Lillibridge 3B, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Sappelt CF, Valbuena SS, McDonald LF, Nelson 1B, Rusin P
Despite the note yesterday that Ian Stewart was going to play today, he's not in the lineup, nor on the reserves list -- and not for tomorrow, either, according to this tweet:
Today's lineup v Dodgers. Note Ian Stewart not on there. And not listed for tomorrow, Starting or off benchlockerz.com/s/287037849— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 14, 2013
The mystery is solved via Stewart's own Twitter account, where he (you'll have to read a long sequence of tweets to get the whole story) says he's playing in a minor-league game Thursday. Maybe I'll get a chance to see him play at Fitch. Meanwhile, here's someone who will be playing for the Cubs tomorrow, for sure:
Rizzo will be back with #Cubs and play Friday vs Japan— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 14, 2013
Ellis 2B, Ethier RF, Kemp CF, Gonzalez 1B, Hairston LF, Cruz 3B, Ellis C, Amezaga SS, Capuano P
This afternoon, the Cubs will send lefthander Chris Rusin to face the Dodgers' Chris Capuano in an all-Chris matchup. For the Cubs, Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Blake Parker and Zach Putnam are scheduled to throw; not one Cubs pitcher going today has much of a chance at the 25-man roster.
Today's game at Mesa will be a webcast on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast should be online and on the MLB At Bat app around 2:50 p.m. CDT.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.