Cubs vs. Mariners at Mesa Preview, Thursday 3/20, 1:05 CT

The Cubs have their first night-game-to-day-game turnaround of 2014.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- At last, the Mike Olt era at third base for the Cubs begins today:

Mike Olt, limited to first base and designated-hitter duties because of a tender right shoulder, is expected to make his first start at third base Thursday. Whether he has enough time to convince the Cubs he should be on the Opening Day roster is still to be determined.

The Cubs have Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy to platoon at third.

Please, Mike Olt, be good at third base and keep hitting. Because I don't want to see another year of two .220-hitting utility players playing third base for the Cubs. Olt has seemed healthy while swinging the bat and playing first base; the linked article quotes manager Rick Renteria as saying the team wants to make sure Olt is healthy before making any decisions.

Be healthy, Mike. The Cubs could use a better third baseman.

Also, I'm sure you heard about the scary injury suffered by the Reds' Aroldis Chapman last night. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say I hope he has a speedy recovery. The news this morning about Chapman is good:

Guys who have the talent of Chapman are good for baseball. He'll be back later this year. Glad he wasn't hurt more seriously.

Cubs lineup:

Lake LF, Barney 2B, Schierholtz RF, Olt 3B, Sweeney CF, Castillo C, Murphy SS, Roberts 1B, Samardzija P

I'm thinking Ryan Roberts still has an outside shot at making this team. Also, note that the Cubs are having pitchers bat (as they will during the season), while at least today, their opponents are using the DH.

Mariners lineup:

Almonte CF, Seager 3B, Cano 2B, Smoak 1B, Hart DH, Morrison RF, Ackley LF, Franklin SS, Buck C

Jeff Samardzija goes for the Cubs. He should be on target to get into the sixth inning today, as he will likely have just one more spring start (probably next Tuesday) before Opening Day.

Erasmo Ramirez is the starter for the Mariners.

Today's game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. It will be televised live on CSN Chicago, and you can also watch online if you have a MLB.TV subscription.

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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