Cubs vs. Indians at Goodyear Preview, Sunday 3/24, 3:05 CT

Jamie Squire

The Cubs enter the final spring-training week with a .500 record. And one of the team's best players is celebrating his birthday.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Happy Birthday to Starlin Castro. The Cubs shortstop turns 23 today.

To give you an idea of how young that is, there are nine active players who had a seasonal age of 22 in 2012 (in other words, they turned 23 after July 1, 2012) and have a career total of 700 or more plate appearances: Castro, Jason Heyward, Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman, Eric Hosmer, Ruben Tejada, Jose Altuve, Mike Trout and Brett Lawrie.

Castro is younger than everyone on that list except Altuve and Trout. And he has the most PA of anyone in that group.

Several of those players are the stars of the next generation: Trout, Stanton, maybe Freeman, Hosmer, Lawrie, Heyward.

And Castro, who's been playing major-league baseball while most of his peers are still coming up through farm systems. Sometimes I think we forget just how young he is; I think he's primed to have a breakout year in 2013.

Also, as you know, the Cubs still have not settled the final spot in their bullpen. There's news this morning from Dodgers camp -- they released Mark Lowe. Lowe was a reasonably effective middle reliever for the Rangers last year. He's had a mediocre spring, but at 30 (a lot younger than Shawn Camp was when the Cubs picked him up a year ago), might be be worth looking at?

Cubs lineup:

Lillibridge CF, Navarro DH, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Hairston RF, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Gonzalez 3B 

Indians lineup:

Bourn CF, Cabrera SS, Kipnis 2B, Swisher 1B, Brantley LF, Santana C, Reynolds DH, Chisenhall 3B, Stubbs RF

This afternoon, Chris Rusin will go for the Cubs against Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez.

MLB.com Gameday

This afternoon's game is on WGN radio with Pat and Keith. If you have MLB.TV, you can watch it via the Indians TV network STO.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

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.

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