As if the regular-season schedule isn't strange enough, the Cubs now play four straight games at HoHoKam; that means five of the 18 Mesa games this year are done in the first week of the spring.
Anyway, before you peruse today's lineups, check out this Sun-Times article about the Cubs' stockpiling of Tommy John survivors -- and look at who thinks it's a really good idea:
"I don’t know about the surgery part, but the fastest way to respectability is good young pitching," said Hall of Fame left-hander Sandy Koufax, 77, who still seems to be trying to get his mind around the realities of this relatively new medical frontier. "So if that’s what they’re doing, great. If they’re taking guys coming off Tommy John, that’s taking a crapshoot. You don’t know. . . . "But the success rate has been so good that I wouldn’t hesitate today."
Koufax had to retire young because, as he says:
"They wouldn’t operate on you," said perhaps the greatest left-hander in history who had to walk away from the game at 3O because of bone spurs and arthritis in his elbow. "In those days, they wouldn’t do it. They couldn’t do it. "Now they go in, take a chisel, cut them off and send you back out."
It's not exactly a "chisel", but imagine what Koufax could have done if modern surgical techniques had been available in 1966. He'd have missed a year, probably, then come back at age 31 maybe better than he was, maybe pitched six or seven more years at a high level.
This is what the Cubs are hoping for from guys like Arodys Vizcaino and Hector Rondon. Hope it works.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano DH, BJackson LF, Navarro C, Lillibridge 2B, Villanueva 3B, Chavez RF
Colvin CF, Culberson 2B, Gonzalez LF, Cuddyer RF, Paulsen 1B, Hernandez C, Wheeler 3B, McBride DH, Herrera SS
This afternoon, Edwin Jackson gets his first Cubs spring start, facing the Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin. Jorge de la Rosa, another candidate for the Rox' rotation, is also expected to appear in this game.
Today's game is a webcast on cubs.com (and via the MLB At Bat app) with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. The webcast will be online starting at 1:50 p.m. CT.
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.