Cubs vs. Dodgers at Mesa Preview, Friday 3/14, 3:05 CT

What is Rick telling James here? - Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are back in action Friday.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The spring schedule resumes for the Cubs after a day off Thursday, and they're going to be busy. With split-squad games coming up starting Saturday, the Cubs will play seven games in the next four days. That'll be plenty of playing time for everyone. (Well, you'd think, anyway.)

The Dodgers, who are heading to Australia to open the season, began the spring a week ahead of the Cubs, and will have just two more days in Arizona before leaving Monday for Down Under. Thus, you might see more regulars play longer for them in this game.

A couple of articles of note this morning:

  • Former Cub Mark Grace has paid his dues to society for his DUI and is ready to take on a new challenge as a minor-league hitting coach in the Diamondbacks organization. I wish him well.
  • Paul Sullivan's Tribune notes column contains this:
    The Cubs may or may not look good on the field this year, but at least they’ll look sharp on the team bus and on the charter. Renteria has instituted a new travel policy in which players will wear coats and ties on all trips.

    I think you all know my position on things like this and facial hair policies. They're silly in modern baseball. This isn't the military (hair rules), and the Cubs travel on charter flights and don't go through airports, which means the only people who will see the coats and ties besides themselves are hotel lobby check-in clerks.

    Incidentally, the few times I've seen Renteria at news conferences, etc. in which he was not dressed in a uniform, he was dressed quite casually.

Also, there's this:

That would make Jake Arrieta about a month behind the other pitchers, so I think it's almost certain he'll start the year on the DL and the Cubs will choose another fifth starter.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio CF, Sweeney DH, Schierholtz RF, Rizzo 1B, Ruggiano LF, Valbuena 3B, Murphy SS, Kottaras C, Barney 2B

Dodgers lineup:

Gordon 2B, Crawford LF, Puig RF, Gonzalez 1B, Ethier CF, Turner 3B, Ellis C, Rojas SS, Beckett P

Kyle Hendricks, still potentially the Cubs' fifth starter this year, gets another chance.

Josh Beckett, who sprained his right thumb 10 days ago when he was accidentally hit by a clubhouse door opening, will make the start for the Dodgers. Others scheduled for LA: Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright.

Today's game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. It will be televised live in the Los Angeles area on SportsNet LA, and so will be on MLB.TV if you have a subscription. It will also be replayed on MLB Network at 8 p.m. CT.

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's game, 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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