Cubs vs. Diamondbacks at Mesa Preview, Thursday 2/27, 2:05 CT: Welcome To Cubs Park

The Cubs open the 2014 spring-training season this afternoon at the new complex that's been in the works for almost five years.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- At last!

Almost five years after the Cubs let it be known that they needed upgraded spring-training facilities, they have the best complex in the Valley of the Sun, and today, after two weeks of workouts and an intrasquad game, they'll unveil Cubs Park for a real, live Cactus League game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The game is sold out, and with the capacity of Cubs Park being about 15,000, a new Cactus League single-game attendance record will almost certainly be set (the current record is 13,721, set in a White Sox/Dodgers game March 13, 2013 at Camelback Ranch).

There's really not much more to say, I don't think; we have all been ready for this day all winter, particularly those of you who have been in the frozen wasteland that has been the Midwest this spring. It's baseball! It's going to be sunny and pleasant this afternoon and it doesn't matter if the Cubs win. Play ball!

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio 2B, Valbuena 3B, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Lake CF, Castillo C, Ruggiano LF, Olt DH, McDonald RF

As noted in yesterday's recap, the DH is often used in spring games, even at N.L. home parks, to get players extra at-bats. Today, Mike Olt is chosen for the extra hitting.

Diamondbacks lineup:

Parra RF, Prado 3B, Goldschmidt 1B, Hill 2B, Chavez DH, Trumbo LF, Montero C, Pollock CF, Gregorius SS

This is a split squad of D'backs, but as you can see, most of their regulars are playing in this game (the others are playing the Dodgers in Glendale).

Jeff Samardzija will start for the Cubs, and probably go two innings. Others scheduled to throw today are Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Jose Veras (not necessarily in that order), who will throw one inning each.

Our old pal Bronson Arroyo gets the nod for the D'backs. Others on the D'backs pitcher list for today: Joe Paterson, Santos Rodriguez, David Hernandez, Will Harris, Matt Stites, Adam Russell, Chase Anderson and Jake Barrett.

This game will be on WGN-TV with Len and JD and also live on cubs.com with Mick Gillispie.

MLB.com Gameday

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. 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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