Split-Squad Sunday: Cubs vs. Brewers and Angels

USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs will have their first split-squad date of the season Sunday, facing the Brew Crew in Mesa and the Halos in Tempe. The Cubs named their Opening Day starter, and a couple of top Cubs prospects get to play in a big-league spring-training game.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- This figures, doesn't it?

Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, who has been sidelined since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat, is still experiencing some lingering mild tightness and has been shut down for one week, and most likely will miss the first month of the regular season. The Cubs athletic trainers are not calling this a setback but say it’s part of the evaluation process.

Not having Garza or Scott Baker, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, means Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva are now in the Cubs rotation. Speaking of the rotation, Dale Sveum officially named Jeff Samardzija as the Opening Day starter.

At least the Cubs have some depth. They'll miss Garza, but Wood and Villanueva are competent major-league starters. They won't have to call on guys like Jason Berken and Justin Germano again.

Meanwhile, this has to be exciting for Cubs prospects Albert Almora and Dan Vogelbach:

And, exciting for the fans who will have a chance to see them facing big-league competition for the first time. If I'd had known this was going to happen, I might have made some plans to go see them play. But I need a day to get everything organized, before my first scheduled spring game Monday in Mesa. I'm sure I'll have plenty more occasions to see Almora and Vogelbach play. Hope they both do well.

Cubs lineup vs. Brewers:

Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano DH, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Hairston CF, Jackson LF, Baez SS

Cubs lineup vs. Angels:

DeJesus CF, Sappelt RF, Bogusevic DH, Nelson 1B, Navarro C, Villanueva 3B, Chavez LF, Maysonet 2B, Gonzalez SS

As you can see, Almora and Vogelbach aren't starting. Vogelbach is on the list for the Mesa game; Almora will play in Tempe.

Brewers lineup vs. Cubs in Mesa:

Aoki RF, Segura SS, Weeks 2B, Gomez CF, Schafer LF, Green 1B, Murphy 3B, Lalli C, Davis DH

Hey, look! There's a familiar name: Blake Lalli, trying to catch on with Milwaukee.

Angels lineup vs. Cubs in Tempe:

Trout LF, Bourjos CF, Hamilton DH, Trumbo RF, Iannetta C, Romine SS, Cowart 3B, Rodriguez 2B, Navarro 1B

No Albert Pujols; Pujols is still recovering from off-season knee surgery and won't play in games for at least a couple more weeks.

This afternoon, Edwin Jackson gets the start in Mesa against the Brewers' Marco Estrada. Nick Struck starts for the squad in Tempe against the Angels' Joe Blanton.

At Mesa, relievers scheduled: Drew Carpenter, Kyuji Fujikawa, Trey McNutt, Hisanori Takahashi.

At Tempe, relievers scheduled: Jensen Lewis, Carlos Marmol, Hector Rondon, Chris Rusin.

MLB.com Gameday for Brewers/Cubs

MLB.com Gameday for Angels/Cubs

Today's game at Mesa -- the one vs. the Brewers -- is a webcast on cubs.com (and via the MLB At Bat app) with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast will be online starting approximately 1:50 p.m. CT. The Angels/Cubs game is being carried on FSN West, so you can watch if you live in an area that carries that RSN, or online if you have MLB.TV. It will also be shown Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT on MLB Network, and there's a live Angels radio broadcast on KLAA (830 AM in Los Angeles), which is also available online, at the link below.

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 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT. (Just two threads for both these games today.) 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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