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Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians, Goodyear, Arizona, Sunday 3/25, 3:05 CT

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Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The intrigues surrounding the Cubs' pitching staff continue.

  • Item: Chris Volstad appears to have locked up a rotation spot.

    Comment: Good. Volstad's been throwing good and consistent sinkers that should work really well at Wrigley Field. This trade -- which pretty much had to be made -- could work out quite well for the Cubs.

  • Item: Lessons from Jeff Samardzija's Friday start, according to Dale Sveum:
    "He probably learned a lesson [Friday]," Sveum said. "You can't throw 90 percent of all your pitches 91 mph and above. You better have unbelievable location if you do that. Obviously, his location was not so good and up in the zone.

    "It doesn't matter how hard your cutter is or how hard you throw, if you're up in the zone against big league hitters, it's going to get hit," Sveum said. "You've got to control bat speed, and we really didn't do that too well yesterday. It was hard, hard, hard, hard, and the location is not there."

    Comment: Let's hope this lesson has, in fact, been learned. Because if not, it's going to be a rough go for Samardzija in the rotation. I still think he -- and the team -- would be better served if he'd go to the bullpen as a setup man.

  • Item: Lendy Castillo is still being considered for a bullpen spot:
    "For a young kid, he hasn't had any big hiccups as far as throwing the ball all over the place," Sveum said. "As soon as he throws a ball, he'll come back with a strike. He'll throw a slider for a strike when he's behind in the count."

    Comment: I guess, but even though the article points out that Castillo has struck out 10 over 8⅔ innings, it fails to mention that he's issued nine walks and hit a batter. He's not ready. I could see the Cubs making a deal to keep him and send him to Double-A. That would make some sense; Castillo does have a good arm.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson RF, DeWitt LF, Castro SS, Soriano DH, LaHair 1B, Soto C, Stewart 3B, Baker 2B, Mather CF

Indians lineup:

Kipnis 2B, Cabrera SS, Choo RF, Santana C, Hafner DH, Kotchman 1B, Canzler LF, Chisenhall 3B, Pie CF

Ah, yes. Our old friend Felix Pie, trying to hang on as a backup in Cleveland. He just turned 27 last month. Maybe he'll still make a major league career out of it.

Rodrigo Lopez starts for the Cubs. I will try to keep an open mind while watching him. On the list to follow Lopez are Frankie De La Cruz, Jeff Beliveau, Blake Parker and James Russell.

For the Tribe, it'll be Jeanmar Gomez starting.

Today's game is on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, and on WGN radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland. Here is the MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Note that for spring training gameday links, you probably will not get pitch-by-pitch as during the regular season; these are unofficial links. Each play will be posted, but might not be updated until after each half-inning.

There will be one overflow thread, which will post at 4:30 pm CT. The "Recent Stories in Game Threads" box on the sidebar is where you'll find it.

Please visit our SB Nation Indians site Let's Go Tribe.

Discuss amongst yourselves.