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Cubs vs. Royals and Cubs vs. Rangers Preview, Saturday 3/16, 3:05 CT

Split-squad weekend continues, this time in completely different area codes, as the Cubs send half the squad to Las Vegas.

Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- At last, you'll be able to see the 2013 Cubs without some other team's announcers getting in the way. WGN-TV is carrying this afternoon's game from Mesa against the Royals. It will be the first time together on the air for Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Having met and spoken to Deshaies at the Cubs Convention, I think he'll be an excellent partner for Len.

I was going to fanshot this link, but I think it deserves attention in a front-page post. The always-excellent Doug Glanville writes about how he's teaching his young kids about baseball.

From the source, we learn of successful hamate surgery for Albert Almora:

Bruce Miles has more details:

Center-field prospect Albert Almora, the Cubs’ top pick in last year’s draft, broke the hamate bone in his left hand and likely will not play in a game until May (probably for the Kane County Cougars after some Arizona rehab). The bone doesn’t serve much purpose, so Almora is having the bone removed.

Almora turns 19 next month, so this is a minor bump in the road, not a real setback.

Cubs lineup vs. Royals:

DeJesus CF, Lillibridge 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Vitters DH, Baez SS, Soler RF, Lopez C, Gonzalez 2B

Royals lineup:

Dyson CF, Giavotella 2B, Moustakas 3B, Ramirez 1B, Lough RF, Hayes C, Colon SS, Taveras LF, Chen P

Well, there's something you don't see every day: the Cubs using the DH and their opponents not.

Cubs lineup vs. Rangers:

Valbuena ss, Barney 2b, Castro dh, Schierholtz rf, Hairston cf, Navarro c, Bogusevic lf, Clevenger 1b, Maysonet 3b

The Rangers lineup was not available at posting time.

This afternoon, Jeff Samardzija faces the Rangers' Nick Tepesch in Las Vegas, while the Cubs send Hisanori Takahashi against the Royals' Bruce Chen in Mesa. Gameday for Cubs/Rangers Gameday for Cubs/Royals

Note for the Cubs/Rangers game: MLB's scoreboard page lists the Cubs as the "away" team for this game; this hasn't always been a reliable indicator of who actually does bat first, so you'll have to find out for sure when the game starts!

Today's game at Mesa will be televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies; Deshaies, as noted above, is making his Cubs TV debut. Today's game in Las Vegas will be on WGN radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland.

Here is the complete 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, 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.