SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- One last round of moves before Monday's opener in Pittsburgh:
Jake Arrieta could be back in the rotation before the end of April; Kyuji Fujikawa might be ready to go in May. There's no timetable for the return of James McDonald, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Brian Schlitter on the 40-man roster, which is now full.
The 25-man roster now includes (with uniform numbers, some of which have changed since spring training:
PITCHERS (12) 29 Jeff Samardzija, RHP 33 Carlos Villanueva, RHP 36 Edwin Jackson, RHP 37 Travis Wood, LHP 39 Jason Hammel, RHP 40 James Russell, LHP 41 Jose Veras, RHP 46 Pedro Strop, RHP 52 Justin Grimm, RHP 53 Wesley Wright, LHP 56 Hector Rondon, RHP 63 Brian Schlitter, RHP
CATCHERS (2) 12 John Baker 53 Welington Castillo
13 Starlin Castro 15 Darwin Barney 24 Luis Valbuena 30 Mike Olt 44 Anthony Rizzo 64 Emilio Bonifacio OUTFIELDERS (5) 6 Ryan Sweeney 19 Nate Schierholtz 20 Justin Ruggiano 21 Junior Lake 51 Ryan Kalish
Players on the 40-man roster who are not on the 25-man:
Many of those listed above will wind up in the major leagues at some point this year.
For comparison: just 11 of the players from last year's Opening Day roster are on this year's (Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Villanueva, Rondon, Russell, Castillo, Castro, Valbuena, Rizzo, Schierholtz -- Barney was on the DL Opening Day). There are seven players on this year's Opening Day roster who are first-time major-league Cubs this year (Hammel, Veras, Wright, Baker, Olt, Bonifacio, Ruggiano and Kalish).
That's quite a turnover. Here's hoping it's an improvement.